A 60-year-old farmer named Pappachan from Kalkoonthal in Idukki district, too, is doing his bit to help those who have lost their houses and livelihood in the landslides and floods. He started off by helping his neighbours. On Tuesday, he donated 10 cents of his land to his neighbours, whose houses had been completely destroyed in the landslides during the heavy rains in Kerala.
In a small ceremony, Pappachan handed over the ownership documents for two plots of his land, five cents each at a combined value of Rs 7.5 lakh, to Chacko and Mathai, his neighbours in Kalkoonthal. He had bought the land seven years ago, taking out a bank loan at the time, for which he had even mortgaged his daughterâ€™s gold ornaments.
His action comes at a time when the Kerala government has rolled back its plan mandating the government employees to contribute their one-month salary to flood relief efforts,
Pappachan, who used his land to farm cardamom, pepper and coffee, says that he took this decision while praying in the church one Sunday.
â€śI heard that 15 people had died in my area, and many more had lost their homes and livelihoods. Thinking about this situation and the people who have no place to stay really tugged at my heartstrings. It was while taking holy communion that I realised that I needed to do something to help the people in my area. I took an immediate decision, even before consulting with my family,â€ť he recounts, adding, â€śJesus preached that you must help your neighbour. I am just doing what I can.â€ť
He then informed his parish priest, Father Thomson about his decision to give ten cents of land to worthy candidates in the locality, who have been affected by the floods.
The priest then identified Chacko and Mathai, who lived about four kilometres away from Pappachanâ€™s house and had lost their homes, belongings and agricultural land.
Mathai, who is also a distant relative of Pappachan, was touched and surprised by Pappachanâ€™s decision, considering he had lost everything and would now need to begin his life afresh. While the land is not suitable for agriculture on the scale that Mathai was practising previously, he says that he now plans to use the land to rebuild his home.