Hailing the role played by the Diocese of Calicut in the growth and development of settler farming communities in the Malabar region, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Sunday that the state government had duly supported the efforts by introducing a series of special social programs aimed at improving the income of farmers in the agricultural sector.
Opening the centenary celebrations of the diocese here, Mr. Vijayan pointed out that the measures already adopted by the government to address farmers’ concerns following the Supreme Court’s latest order on environmentally sensitive areas were also part of these efforts.
“We are doing everything we can to control the threat of wild animals. With innovative programs such as the Spice Park and the Rubber Park, the government is also trying its best to ensure at least 50% growth in the overall annual agricultural income of the farmers,” said. Mr Vijayan. He also called on the dioceses in the Malabar region to take advantage of these available programs for the welfare of farmers using its existing social service networks.
Expressing concern over growing threats to communal harmony and unity in the state, the Chief Minister said there were suspicious attempts to ignite human-to-human clashes and their impact could be worse than that of clashes between animals. “Many times it is our ignorance that leads to enmity towards our fellow human beings. It will vanish the moment we try to understand each other,” he observed.
Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry, who delivered the centenary celebration message, said farmers in Kerala were going through a critical situation and were worried about the latest Supreme Court order on environmentally sensitive areas. He called on the Chief Minister to do everything in his power to overturn the verdict and uphold the farmers’ right to their land.
“We want all political parties to work in unison for the welfare of the state. Support from all political parties is needed to safeguard the interests of the farming community,” Cardinal Alencherry said. He also asked the Chief Minister to take all possible legal steps to make the order favorable to the farmers.
The event, which began with a Pontifical High Mass presided over by the Archbishop of Verapoly Joseph Kalathiparambil as the main celebrant, attracted the participation of a large number of faithful from different parishes and dioceses. The launch of 11 separate charity projects also took place on this occasion. Public Works Minister PA Mohamed Riyas, Archbishop of Thalassery Joseph Pamplany, Thottathil Raveendran, MLA, and Mayor Beena Philip were among those who addressed the public meeting. The Bishop of Calicut Diocese, Varghese Chakkalakkal, welcomed the gathering.