Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Sandeshkha­li: Guv forms team to study if ‘grabbed lands’ can be used for agricultur­e

- OUR CORRESPOND­ENT

Governor C V Ananda Bose is learnt to have formed a team which will study the lands in Sandeshkha­li, which were grabbed from the villagers and turned into fish farms, and suggest ways to utilise them.

The lands are being presently returned to the villagers who had alleged that their lands were snatched away from them by Shahjahan and his aides. Such lands were subsequent­ly flooded with saline water to pave the way for piscicultu­re. To ensure they can again be used by the villagers for agricultur­e purposes, Bose had recently visited the Indian Council of Agricultur­al Research and held discussion­s with experts on how these lands can once again be utilised. It was reportedly learnt that experts have said that the top soil of these lands is destroyed and unless it is replaced agricultur­e will not be possible.

Also, it was suggested that since the character of the land has now changed, piscicultu­re will be the preferred option to utilize these lands.

The Governor is learnt to have constitute­d a committee, including former secretary of the Department of Agricultur­e, Cooperatio­n and Farmers’ Welfare, SK Pattanayak, and an FAO expert to study the issue and suggest ways of land utilisatio­n in Sandeshkha­li, Raj Bhavan sources said. “So far, over 250 plots of the snatched lands have been returned to their original owners. But vast swathes of farmlands had remained submerged under the saline water of the fish farms for more than two to three years, causing much damage to the topsoil. A layer of salt has settled down on those lands that may not be able to produce crops for at least the next five to ten years,” an official said.

“Then, this freshwater may be used to irrigate the lands. Also, freshwater in the canals and ponds would gradually seep into the farmlands and mitigate the effect of the salt,” it was further added.

It was also suggested that salt-tolerant paddy varieties may be cultivated depending on the salinity of the soil.

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