Restriction to reed cutting in forests; Traditional reed workers in distress
Nedumangad: The traditional reed workers are in a distress as the reed cutting from forest has been restricted and the price of reed has skyrocketed. Cutting reed (Eetta in Malayalam) from forest has been stopped for the past 4 months.
Earlier, the forest department used to give out a pass to the traditional reed workers and also charged a certain fee for a pass. But for the past 4 months, no pass is distributed from Palode, and Kulathupuzha ranges. The forest department has not given any reason for the denial of pass.
When reed became unavailable, more than 500 families in Peringamala panchayat lost their means of living. Hundreds of families in Idinjar, Edavam, Kolachal, Madathara, Melemukku, Sivanmukku and Pambuchathamannu find a living by making reed products. Many of them are starving due to the restrictions imposed on reed cutting.
The reed workers have to travel from place to place to sell the reed products now. Also the fiber products which replace the reed products pose a threat to the traditional reed workers.