RT in Kumarakom was found to be a grand success more than the other 3 destinations in the State. Personal interviews were conducted at the destination as part of the assessment of RT implementation. RT Coordinator of Kumarakom was the main source of information. The complete list of sources of information is given in Appendix 3.1. A focus group interview with the members of the Grama Panchayat was also conducted. Given below are the observations made out of the interviews with respect to the ToR.
First phase of RT in Kumarakom started with RT Field level activities.
1. RT Related Structure
The main strength behind the implementation of RT in Kumarakom, is the support given at the State level, mainly by Secretary and Director of Tourism and Kumarakom RT Destination Coordinator. Kumarakom is represented by its President in the SLRTC. Hence the prospect of making district level or zonal level RT Committees when RT implementation is expanded to other destinations nearby can be thought of. The plan to include the Chairman of the Welfare Standing Committee is valid as, supervision of the Kudumbasree activities at Panchayat level is fulfilled by the Chairman of the Welfare Standing Committee.
b. Working Groups
Kumarakom being a prominent tourist spot, the Kumarakom Panchayat had the unique advantage of having a working group in tourism. For subjects of local importance, panchayats can have specific working groups. This was of great help for the implementation of the RT mechanism in Kumarakom. A tourism working group was made at the Panchayat level by those who were interested in the idea of RT.
To assist the implementation of the RT under the triple responsibilities, three working groups under DLRTC were formed in addition to the working group at Panchayat level. But the contribution to RT implementation at Kumarakom remained restricted to individual members, even though the roles of working groups were known.
Lately many of the hotel owners and resort owners have expressed cooperation and participation in the continued implementation of RT.
c. Technical Support Cell at Destination Level
Implementation of RT at the destination was aided by the advice of the Technical Support Cell. The technical cell was the main focus of RT implementation at Kumarakom. Right from the launch date, the cell offered timely assistance by enthusiastically contributing to various initiatives. Few of the functions carried out by the Technical Cell Coordinator being, planning of a calendar to evenly space production of vegetables and to supply the products to hotels and resorts round the year, formation of 'Samrudhi' group for the collection and distribution of the produces, constituting the hotels and resorts to become part of the RT movement, formation of Kudumbasree units and farmer groups to contribute to the production system, liaison on issues within and between production units, etc. Largest time was spent by the Coordinator towards the execution of economic responsibilities.
Labour related issues such as the dispute on the payment of bonus for the houseboat crew was solved with the involvement of the cell.
The setting up of a sewage treatment plant was met with opposition from the residents at the initial stage, but persistent efforts by the cell created awareness among the residents and later helped in garnering support for the setting up of the plant.
A group of protesters including women and students were pacified by the efforts of the Panchayat President. He addressed and assured them that the plant would be shut down in case of any problems or malfunctions. Under the supervision of DTPC the plant now functions successfully.
But a void was created in June 2010, when RT Cell stopped functioning and other players who depended on the RT Coordinator were in a fix as they did not have anyone to look up to for leadership and supervision.
Kumarakom Model RT
Kumarakom Responsible Tourism initiative created many working models. All these models were actually developed by the idea of the RT Destination Coordinator along with the support of Panchayat and DLRTC. The models were Price fixing Committee, Quality Assurance Committee, Ranking of Hotels, RT Partners Forum etc. These models made RT a big success in Kumarakom.
d. Price Fixing Committee
During the implementation phase, Price Fixing Committee became a part of the structure. Such a committee was initiated to arrive at a consensus price for the commodities supplied to hotels by the community. Price fixing committee was constituted by DLRTC. Committee was constituted by members of the Kudumbashree, DTPC, Grama Panchayat, and purchase staff of hotels. Sales tax officer, veterinary officer, agricultural officer and representatives from Kerala Agricultural University were the other members of the Committee. Price fixing was confined to vegetables and agri-products which are available in the open market. The Committee was formed with the Panchayat President as the Chairman, RT coordinator as Convenor, all resort managers, farmers representatives, purchase managers, CDS Chairperson, Samrudhi Secretary as members.
In the initial stage, there was continual involvement of the Price Fixing Committee. But as time elapsed, the meeting of the committee happened only on occasions where a severe disparity in price was noted when compared with the market price. Presently, prices of the items are fixed by the collection and distribution group of the RT implementation system-"Samrudhi".
No meeting of the price fixing committee was held after the takeover of the new Panchayat Samithi. The price fixing mechanism implemented by “Samrudhi” is not aware to all purchase managers of hotels who buy products regularly through "Samrudhi".
With the objective of resolving issues related to the quality of materials supplied to hotels, a Quality Committee was constituted with the Panchayat President as chairman, RT Coordinator as convener, Hotel chefs from Coconut Lagoon, Taj, a veterinary surgeon and Agricultural Officer as the members.
Similar to the Price Fixing Committee, Quality Committee is a system that emerged as an attempt to benchmark the quality of products. Due to the apprehension of receiving poor quality products hotels hesitated to source the products from the community. The regularity of Quality Committee meetings has decreased now.
DLRTC constitutes the quality committee also. The committee consists of members from Grama Panchayat, Kudumbashree, chefs of participating hotels, veterinary surgeon, agricultural officer and Health Inspector.
After the new Panchayat committee took over, the Quality Committee has not constituted. Some people are of the opinion that there is no need of a Quality Committee, since there is no quality issues with the items that are supplied. But to ensure the quality standards at the producer and supply levels, the Panchayat President suggests that representatives from Kudumbasree, Purusha Swayam Sahaya Sangham and Karshaka Koottayma are to be included in the quality committee. Later the quality and pricing disputes were resolved as the resorts and hotels changed their attitude and received policy of Panchayat President.
e. Samrudhi Activity Group
Samrudhi groups are run by the members of Kudumbasree. The role of procurement and supply of local produce, perishable as well as non-perishable, to the hotels / restaurants lies with Samrudhi . When seasonal variations arise leading to lack of certain items, those items are procured from elsewhere.
In the initial stage the income generated from Samrudhi was low but showed improvement in the future. Since the income is linked with tourist seasons the income generated is subject to seasonal variations.
In the early stage, Samrudhi group consisted of six members, among them two were graduates. Now the membership of the group is reduced to three members. Each person draws a salary of Rs. 2000 per month. Maintenance of accounts and its transactions were improper, hence there is a need to improve the collection and distribution system. Currently Samrudhi is helped by CDS in streamlining the transaction and as a result of that Samrudhi is now generating surplus income.
Lack of working capital is the main problem faced by Samrudhi group. An interest free loan of Rs. 30,000 was given by Kudumbasree . Various items were sourced on credit basis like coconut, coconut oil and pappad . To meet the demands of the hotels, the unit procures vegetables from other places in addition to locally sourced vegetables. Even though the activity is not officially proposed to be under RT implementation, to make up for the shortages of operational income, the unit has adapted to this.
In the early stages, purchase orders were collected by the RT Coordinator by contacting hotels and later were passed on to the Samrudhi Group. Items were procured from production centers by Samrudhi and later passed on to hotels. Since June 2010, there is an absence of the RT Coordinator and resorts and hotels contact Samrudhi through telephone for their supply needs .Mode of payment to Samrudhi is through cheque. The credit period taken by hotels varies from 15 days to 45 days.
According to the chairperson of CDS, at least five members are needed for better management of Samrudhi. The initial strength was five which later came down to the present strength of three. Three are needed in collection and distribution activities and two persons manage the shop.
Samrudhi group needs a vehicle for collection of vegetables and distribution to hotels but currently the need is met by rented ones. Seeking of fund from Department of Tourism for the procurement of an auto-rickshaw was suggested by the former Panchayat President and the Chairperson of CDS s
f. Farmers' Groups
The first link in the supply chain was formed by farmer groups and homestead farmers who are the producers of the supplies. There is an association of farmers comprising 450 farmers in ten groups known as "Karshaka samithis" associated with RT initiatives. Around 512 farmers supplied vegetables to restaurants and hotels through samrudhi by cultivating vegetables in their land or house premises.
Another group of farmers is the Karshaka koottayma. Financial support is extended to them by Kudumbasree . Not every farmer provides their products to Samrudhi. Also, the farmer group does not produce all the items needed by hotels. Whereas the hotels procure all the products of the Farmer Groups.
2. Relationships among Partners and Stakeholders of RT
In the earlier chapter a very broad structure considering the partners and stakeholders at Kumarakom was given.At the destination level partners and stakeholders are identified as follows :-
Kumarakom Grama Panchayat, DLRTC, RT Technical Support Cell, Working Group
- Economic Responsibility, Working Group - Social and Cultural Responsibility, Working Group - Environmental Responsibility, CDS, Kudumbasree, Department of Tourism, DTPC, the industry (Hotels and Restaurants)
Kudumbasree Units, Farmer Groups, Artisans, Cultural groups and other SHGs
Roles or duties of these players differed from monitoring to regulatory and from execution to facilitation. All the players are lined along the supply side, like a many-to-one game except the industry (hotels and restaurants). This is due to the absence of SHGs and NGOs and thrust given to economic responsibility alone.
In the earlier stages the association with the industry was very weak. The implementation system succeeded in bringing together 15 hotels/resorts to the RT movement with the co-operation of the Department of Tourism and Kumarakom Grama Panchayat.
The local community was economically rewarded as they got the opportunity to utilize their traditional lifestyle and cultural talents. Initiatives of the RT Cell have helped immensely in meeting the requirements of the industry by involving the local community. RT Cell was the main force behind setting up of units for vegetable cultivation, fish processing, chapatti making, chicken processing, supply of tender coconuts, gift making, pappad making, handicraft and painting, souvenir, and performing groups like Shinkarimelam and other cultural groups. Different micro enterprises and individuals run these units. But the initial pace of working has been lost and only a very few are still operating.
Currently, only five hotels and resorts source their requirements through Samrudhi. The main items the industry is sourcing from the local community are coconut, tender coconuts, coconut oil, pappad and eggs.
The industry was very cautious in sourcing their requirements locally, whereas the aspiration level of the community was very high. Quality of the products is the main apprehension expressed by the representatives of the industry in buying local products. Those hotels which cooperated did so considering it as a social cause and also due to some political pressure at local level.
A wonderful example of cooperation shown by the industry in community development can be seen in the way by which the industry contributed to buy more land, when the land in possession of the Panchayat was inadequate in establishing a water supply scheme at Kumarakom. To make the drivers and employees of boats more tourist friendly, the industry contributed by organising training programmes.
The links between these partners and stakeholders are analysed and given separately in Chapter 7.
3. Ownership by the Local Body
In coordinating the roles of the players in tourism in line with the principles of RT, Kumarakom Panchayat was highly successful. The Kudumbasree units, few of the hotel/resort establishments, and the local community was brought together through these efforts. We can give the credit of playing a critical role in institutionalising the RT system in Kumaarakom to the Kumarakom Panchayat and its leadership.
The Panchayat Samithi still pursues its former initiatives. If any constraints arise it can be discussed and resolved says the President of the Kumarakom Grama Panchayat.The implementation mechanism of RT followed at Kumarakom was found to be satisfactory by a team from Central Government, who visited the place. This came about as an encouragement to the Panchayat Samithi to take it to further heights. The most recent PATA award received by Kumarakom destination can be seen as a similar push given to the implementation agency of the region.
The implementation of RT is assisted by the ward members of the Panchayat by their cooperation and efforts. In order to make the role of Panchayat more productive, there is a proposition to give training to the elected members.
The tourism working group of the new Panchayat Samithi is constituted with the following members:
• President of Kumarakom Panchayat - Chairperson
• Sri. G. C. Damodaran, former Panchayat President - Vice-Chairman
• Secretary of Kumarakom Panchayat – Convener
• K. Rupesh Kumar – RT Destination Coordinator
• Representative from Department of Tourism - Member
• Representative of Home Stay Association - Member
• Representative of Houseboat Operators Association - Member
• Former MD of KTDC residing at Kumarakom - Member
Meeting of the tourism working group has taken place twice. Grama Sabha receives the submission of decisions taken by the working group. The decisions taken by the new tourism working group of the Panchayat reflects the influence of RT principles. New working group has undertaken few of the decisions such as:-
• Selling outlets are to be arranged for local produces: This is not restricted to tourism sector alone, but since the visitors and stakeholders in tourism are our targeted customers, setting up of selling outlets can be seen as a measure to enhance the economic responsibility of RT.
• Dredging and deepening of canals in the village: If this task is done in its true vigor will help in developing the environmental conditions of the destination.
• To train tourist guides: This can be identified as an economic responsibility. This will go a great way towards reducing leakages and enhancing the quality of services in tourism.
• For a wider and even spread of RT: This is the most reassuring decision as this echos the acceptance that, RT has received from the local body as a guiding principle for tourism development in Kumarakom.
The future of Responsible Tourism banks on the initiatives undertaken by the Panchayat with the assistance of the Department of Tourism.
4. Ownership by Industry
A destination level workshop was held at Kumarakom on 16th May 2017, Secretary Tourism, Government of Kerala mentioned about a series of complaints posed by hoteliers. against the Panchayat and the local community. And also about the opinion held by local people that tourism industry is like business for outsiders to exploit local resources. Initially only three hoteliers extended their cooperation in implementation of RT at Kumarakom by signing an agreement in the workshop, this number later increased as more and more hoteliers became a part of the group.
In Kumarakom the initial interest shown by the industry towards participation in RT activities and its implementation subsided and did not last long. Towards the end, only five remained out of the 15 hotels and restaurants that participated in the initial stages. Those who are still participating procure products from local supply groups. Substantial business could be generated, even though the purchases were mostly for the staff of the hotels and not for the guests. Rs. 27 lakhs worth of local produce that include perishable as well as non-perishable items were purchased by the industry from September 2008 to January 2010.
28 out of 30 people were employed by the Zuri Hotel for works associated with gardening from the local community. From among the local community , all unskilled staff such such kitchen and housekeeping staff were sourced. The Kumarakom Lake Resort, encourages the development of entrepreneurship, besides being the biggest procurer in the RT movement. If the procured items meets the quality standards and required volume, hotels participating in the RT movement are ready to procure more items.
The higher price charged by Samrudhi compared to the market price and lack of quality were the biggest concerns expressed by industry representatives. When the demand increased it failed to maintain the initial levels of quality. When Samrudhi was unable to supply the quantity ordered, some of the hotels shifted to other vendors. Most of the purchases are restricted for the consumption of the hotel staff, as purchases were also sourced from places outside Kumarakom & the industry is very cautious of the quality of products.
5. Benefit to the Local Community
The RT Cell at Kumarakom identified several social issues that 'irritated' the local community. The social issues identified were:
• Pollution of backwaters and small canals
• Displacement of local people
• Conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural land by filling paddy fields
• Denial of local access to the backwaters by tourism properties
• Pollution of public places
• Increasing consumption of alcohol and tendency for drug usage
• Encroachment of backwater shores by tourism properties
The Grama Panchayat addresses the above issues. Project development and tapping of financial requirements for execution of the projects are aided by RT initiatives. To control the pollution of Vambanad lake caused by the houseboats, a sewage plant is set up at Kumarakom . According to the President of Kumarakom Grama Panchayat, ban on use of plastic items needs to be strictly enforced in the Panchayat. It is because of the efforts of the RT movement that the bird sanctuary area is declared as a plastic free zone. An attempt at converting uncultivated land back to cultivated land has been undertaken by the RT movement. In providing an access to the lakes for the tourists and the local residents a walkway project has been provided. Residents guard against immoral activities and atrocities against women because of RT. It would be difficult to grant licenses to tourism properties to reclaim and encroach to the backwaters as it is the Panchayat that promotes RT.
Contribution by RT was also visible in the development of infrastructure. The Drinking Water Scheme, set up with the cooperation of the hotel industry at Kumarakom is a very good example of the direct benefit to the local community provided through RT. Due to the efforts of the RT Cell and Panchayat ,the street lighting in Kumarakom has also improved.
RT assisted in the development of entrepreneurs. Three souvenirs in Kumarakom have been developed by the Responsible Tourism Destination Cell- a houseboat model, a snake boat model and a depiction of traditional angling of the fishermen in Kumarakom. Three local entrepreneurs crafted the three souvenirs and make it available at the resorts in Kumarakom. Priced at Rs. 500 and Rs. 1100 there are two variants of houseboat models. Priced at Rs. 4000 per piece is a snake boat model. Priced at Rs. 800 per piece is the model of traditional angling. The entrepreneur earns upto Rs. 20000 a month by making models of Kettuvalloms and houseboats. An individual makes about 20 models in a month in this handicraft unit. With the help of machines, he hopes to double the production. Even though this unit existed before the implementation of RT, the earnings generated through it is now more regular after RT came into the picture.
Many people in the area actively collaborate with Responsible Tourism. Local community who produce perishable and non-perishable items for the tourism enterprises are benefited as the absence of any intermediary ensures that the benefits reach them through the RT movement. Tourists are given an opportunity to experience village life through tour packages like the "Village Life Experience" and "A Day with the Farmer". The direct beneficiaries of tourism include the participants of the package as well.
One of the largest suppliers of vegetables in Kumarakom is the "Geethabhai" unit. Since the implementation of RT, the unit employs 21 people and is engaged in the cultivation of paddy in seven acres, homestead farming for growing vegetables and plantains and poultry farming. Samrudhi procures the output and the remaining items are sold to other shops. The entrepreneurs believe that organic farming would generate more profit for the unit, after having attended classes on organic farming .Since the implementation of RT, another unit called "Earamattom" led by another woman entrepreneur is also doing well. The main activities of the unit comprising 19 members include vegetable growing, catering, tailoring and performing cultural shows.
There is a third cultural group named Gopika. The unit was formed after the implementation of RT by another woman. But the group is currently inactive after having performed a couple of performances. RT coordinator helps them in getting invited to stage performances. Other activities like making brooms and mats are also undertaken by the group members. The products so made are later supplied to Samrudhi.
6. Role of Kudumbasree
Members of Ayalkootam or Area Development Societies under the CDS come together to form units of Kudumbasree, which are activity groups. With a total membership of 4500 women, there are 301 Kudumbasree units at Kumarakom. There is total of 5500 women population in the Panchayat. Thus Kudumbasree holds a significant position among the women in the Panchayat.
In RT implementation, Kudumbasree acted as the major stakeholder group. District mission ensured the participation of of Kudumbasree units in RT. Since the implementation of RT, there is an increasing enrolment of women in Kudumbasree. There were 167 Kudumbasree units during the initiation of RT. Now the number of units has increased to 301. Vegetables are grown by 15 of those units.
Continuous supply of vegetables to the participating hotels / resorts was made possible due to the efforts of Kudumbasree. The Kudumbasree units leased about 1.13 acres of land and cultivated vegetables to meet the demand for continuous supply to the participating hotels.
Strengthening the production system and participation in the collection and distribution of the products were expected to be carried out in a productive way by the Kudumbasree units. Samrudhi Activity Group used to carry out the collection and distribution system. Generally the Kudumbasree units are engaged in production, but the Samrudhi unit of Kudumbasree is not engaged in any production. The unit has two male members. A separate by-law under Kudumbasree governs all activities of Samrudhi. Samrudhi is fully commanded by CDS. Financial assistance administered in the initial stages and audit of accounts were done by CDS. An outlet for open sale has been established by Samrudhi and the Panchayat provided the space for shop free of cost.
Climate related adversities and challenges were faced by the production units. The units sell their output to both open market and Samrudhi. For these units, the market available to them through RT cannot be considered critical. The production never reached the demand levels. The units revealed that the production targets could not be met by these units.
For the formation of more Kudumbasree units, capacity building on production, planning and marketing and financial support to their operation would be required. Currently, financial support to the units is solely by the State Bank of Travancore. President of the Panchayat is of the opinion that more banks will have to extend financial assistance for the operation of Kudumbasree units. The units will have to work in collaboration with Department of Agricultural and agencies like Matsyafed.
7. Gender Aspects
In accordance with the implementation of RT, Kudumbasree played a major role in improving the status of several women by giving them opportunities to find employment and leadership qualities. Recently, the local body recently elected a Kudumbasree member. Her unit is named “Geethabhai” and it supplies vegetables to the industry. She is a successful entrepreneur earning revenue of over Rs.10000 a month.
There were other women entrepreneurs also, who got rewarded by RT for their activities. In addition to growing vegetables, women are highly active in cultural groups. Some of them are beneficiaries of the RT movement and are part of the "Village Life Experience". Prior to the implementation, the members of the Samrudhi unit were housewives. Estimations say that more than 100 families in Kumarakom got profit from Samrudhi. Women from local community are assisted and benefited from employment in hotels and resorts. For instance, more women from the local community work at Zuri Hotel compared to men.
The success story of RT at Kumarakom, was telecasted by the government channel of Belgium covering 12 countries. The telecast highlighted the success achieved by RT in women empowerment and poverty eradication. Around 900 women from Kumarakom are directly involved in the movement.
8. Production System
Earlier KITTS did an evaluation of the demand for local produce. The expected demand could not be fulfilled by the production of Kudumbasree units, farmer groups and home-stead farmers Orders were taken from the participating hotels/resorts regularly by the RT cell and items were supplied as per order. Demand estimated by KITTS was however different from the quantity ordered by hotels and resorts. The lack of confidence in the quality of products that are locally supplied would be the reason for the deviation seen in the estimated and real demand. A compromise on the quality and variety of products that are meant for guests cannot be afforded by the industry. Improvements can be seen only when there is a qualitative betterment in the items supplied through RT.
Since the cornerstone of the economy in Kumarakom was agriculture, an increased importance was given to this sector for RT implementation. Through the efforts of RT, an additional 55 acres of uncultivated land was brought under cultivation. CDS funds were utilised for taking the required land for cultivation in lease. In Panchayat area, ten ponds were promoted for fish farming. 10 farmers group comprising 450 members, participated in the RT movement at Kumarakom. Micro-enterprises members were 25 in number and 510 home-stead farmers.
Kudumbasree, home-stead farmers and farmers catered to the formal production system of RT. During the period from Sept 2008 to Jan 2010, about 6 acres of land by Kudumbasree, 14 acres by Home-stead farmers and 40 acres by farmers were brought under cultivation for RT on an average in a month. Among these, 16 acres of land was added for cultivation because of RT.
9. Collection and Supply Mechanism
The Samrudhi group manages the collection and supply mechanism in RT. Functioning of Samrudhi is proceeding well at Kumarakom. Samrudhi successfully competed with established distributers and traders by generating a turnover of Rs 12. lakhs in the first 18 months. Samrudhi generates an average revenue to the tune of Rs. 60,000 per month. Items are supplied to hotels, restaurants, home-stays and houseboats by Samrudhi. Samrudhi. Has an open shop to sell the procured items.
Samrudhi faces many challenges. Items are not been supplied in the required quantity at times by Samrudhi. Samrudhi cannot supply fruits and vegetables that are imported or that are not grown in Kumarakom. The credit period for making payment, by the hotels is creating difficulties for Samrudhi. Another challenge faced by Samrudhi is quality. For example, when the packed pappads in the market last up to three months, the local pappads last for seven days only. Lack of working capital affects the operations of Samrudhi. The lack of working capital, affected the salary of the women worked in Samrudhi. They worked with Samrudhi with the hopes of better sales in future.
Many items are sourced from places outside Kumarakom by Samrudhi. Nothing is being done in the supply chain system to add value. Samrudhi restricts its role to exchanging of commodities against orders. One cannot expect anything to add value to the products before it is delivered with just two members.
Few of the items such as, plantain flower, papaya, tender coconut and plantains are supplied directly by the farmers to hotels. Farmers are thus given an opportunity to avoid middlemen by selling their products directly to the consumer and through the RT implementation mechanism. An analysis of the items supplied by Samrudhi to the hotels in terms of consistency in supply and value of items, if the collection and supplies are limited to the following four or five items, Samrudhi will be able to still maintain the business or even improve their business.
In Appendix 3-2.volume of collection and distribution through Samrudhi for 17 months is given.
|First 17 months of RT implementation||Fish, coconut, tender coconut, souvenir and handicrafts|
|One year from Feb 2009 to Jan 2010||Coconut, tender coconut, coconut oil, souvenir and handicrafts|
10. Local Awareness and Involvement
The RT concept is well conceived by the local community at Kumarakom. Further awareness was received at the national level through the awards received nationally. The faith of RT concept among the local community was further strengthened by the PATA award received recently. It has been proposed to create a training module, on the basis of the experiences gained in the RT implementation. It has been pointed out to conduct awareness programmes on RT based on this training module. Training should also be given to the ward members. To reach the entire community, the training should be re -done every three months.
11. Media Support
The newspapers that covered the programs of RT were Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhoomi, Kerala Kaumudi, Deepika, Deshabhimani, The Hindu, the New Indian Express and Mangalam. Good coverage to the RT programme at Kumarakom were given by other media like Manorama Vision, Belgium govt. channel, Business Today, India Today and Outlook. Good relations with the media was maintained by the RT cell officials who helped in the implementation of RT in Kumarakom. But the current Panchayat President who assumed charge recently, feels that the media has not given the required attention and importance to RT in Kumarakom.