Conspiracy to shift International Coconut Gene Bank

International Coconut Gene Bank at Kidu.

There is a conspiracy to shift the International Coconut Gene Bank, situated on a 300-acre land in Kidu, Puttur taluk. The bank was started 46 years ago and is one of its kind in South Asia. The Bank functions under the Ministry of Agriculture and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The ICAR-CPCRI Research Centre and the International Coconut Gene Bank were started on a 300-acre land from the Forest Department for a 30-year lease. The scientists at the centre have been providing field information to the farmers, along with supplying a good breed of saplings.

The International Coconut Gene Bank at Kidu is one of the five gene banks in the world. Scientists come here from different parts to conduct research. There is a demand for Mangala, Mohith Nagara, Sumangala, Swarnamangala arecanut seeds and saplings grown at the centre.

The lease period ended in 2000. As per the Supreme Court's directions, attempts are being made to return the said land. It is said that the authorities were asked to extend the lease period for another 30 years by paying Rs 12 crore to take up afforestation in the 300-acre vacant land.

The CPCRI had applied for renewal of the lease to the Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. By mentioning the Court's order in connection with the conservation of forest, the Forest Department refused to renew the lease. Instead, it was asked to identify an alternative land for the development of forest by giving Rs 12 crore.

Authorities asked for a concession stating that the project does not harm the environment and that greenery is developed on the entire stretch. However, the Department of Environment and Forest denied permission stating that the research centre was not included in the concession list announced in the Supreme Court order.

According to a progressive farmer Manamohan Golyadi, “The move to shift the research centre will affect the agriculture sector in the district.”

When the farmers raised the issue of shifting the research centre at the recently held farmers meeting, DC Sasikanth Senthil said that it is not easy to shift such centres and promised to look into the issue.

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Conspiracy to shift International Coconut Gene Bank

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