Udayavni Special

Mangaluru: This paddy field is in contrast to the city around it


Team Udayavani, Sep 15, 2020, 7:27 PM IST

Mangaluru: At a time when fertile land is sold off for commercial development, 1.20-acre farmland at Chilimbi here is lush with paddy even as its surrounding has outgrown with buildings.

Francis Saldanha, a retired as a superintendent from the Karnataka Government Insurance Department, Mangaluru, the owner of the land at Malaraya temple road at Chilimbi has been cultivating paddy in the city for nearly 30 years.

Saldanha has five paddy fields in the 1.2-acre land. 10 years ago he also had buffaloes which he used in tilling the land. After it became difficult to care for the buffaloes he started renting a tiller from Bajpe.

This year he started to plough the land on June 15.

He uses his well’s water if rainwater is not sufficient during the rainy season. Before planting, he applies the ash of burnt dry leaves and other organic trash. He also uses urea. along with some urea to the field.

Saldanha says that he requires a minimum workforce in managing his farm. He does most of the tilling and ploughing himself and hires about 15 people for harvesting the crops and another 14 for separating the seed from the chaff. He gets experienced workers from Bajpe and Permude.

Saldanha states that the Department of Agriculture cooperates with him in his work. However, he has not been able to use the crop survey as the Department of Revenue has categorized his field as ‘non-agricultural land.’

“I never had any loss from farming. Last year I grew 12 quintals of paddy. I even sold the waste grass. Many people have asked me will I sell my land. However I have not thought seriously about it,” Saldanha said.

“Several years ago there were agricultural fields from the main road of Chilimbi to the lower Falguni River. In the years that followed the passage of the Land Acquisition Act, many of these fields were sold. However, my father Martin Saldanha thought that it is easy to sell land but difficult to buy. Hence he held on to this land and continued farming it so did I after him. Along with paddy I also grow brinjals and other vegetables,” adds Saldanha.

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