Parties reworking strategies to woo them

DARE TO LIVE: A farmer’s house which was attacked by wild elephants last year near Peedikappara in Kozhikode district.  

Parties reworking strategies to woo them

If infrastructure development is the barometer to assess growth, farmers, especially those in upland villages of Kozhikode, should be the luckiest lot. On the contrary, the majority of them are disgruntled thanks to a host of issues plaguing them for years.

Caught are they in a struggle to save their land from unending land disputes and for a permanent solution to the wild animal menace.

Of the 70 grama panchayats, the problem is of particular concern in upland areas, where many farmers are now part of farm movements to flag their concerns. The presence of such groups is now visible even in the 12 block panchayats. Anti-quarry movements led by farmers are also gaining strength in such areas.

Though the wild boar menace has been partly addressed with the empanelling of licensed gun holders, farmers claim their numbers are low and do not meet the requirement. They also argue that a proposal to declare wild boars as vermin still remains on paper, lacking the required support from local bodies.

Sensing the discontentment, political parties and candidates are on the lookout for a better strategy to win over this sensitive section of the electorate by addressing their concerns. They will also have to face the likelihood of farmers fielding their own representatives.

Apart from the wild animal menace, the row over classification of the buffer zone around the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary has unsettled many farmers who hold several acres adjacent to forest borders. For them, the local body’s stance, especially the favourable voice of local body representatives, will be crucial in any dispute in future. They are also eagerly awaiting the election manifesto and candidate selection of parties.

The attempt to move resolutions by some of the grama panchayats against the proposed buffer classification is also seen as a positive move by many. Farmers claim that the Forest Department has put forth inaccurate geospatial data for marking buffer zones. They also point out that such data will displace many farmers and Chakkittappara will be one of the worst-affected panchayats.