Seeks funds for road works as per revised estimate
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday urged Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh to consider including the rearing of animals, dairy and coir industries, and water management under the ambit of jobs provided in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA).
He wanted the Centre to include livelihood schemes, housing, and toilet construction in the list of works that could be undertaken under the MGNREGA.
Mr. Chandy, who met Mr. Ramesh here, also made a request to grant funds under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (Prime Minister Rural Road Development Programme) as per the revised estimates as the Public Works Department schedule for undertaking the jobs had been extended. He wanted implementation of road development under the fast track scheme.
If the Centre did not approve the revised estimate and allot funds, the burden of providing additional funds would fall on the State government causing more financial constraint, he told Mr. Ramesh. The latter agreed to consider the demand.
He sought some relaxation in the conditions stipulated under the programme regarding density of population in tune with the habitation pattern in the State. Kerala Minister for Rural Development K.C. Joseph accompanied him.
Earlier, participating in a programme at the Travancore Palace, owned by the State government here which houses an art gallery, Mr. Chandy announced that soon the government would renovate the building and turn the structure into a cultural heritage centre and build an auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,000 persons. There would also be an exhibition centre, food court and 100 rooms for the Malayalis visiting New Delhi on the premises, the Chief Minister said.
He inaugurated a library, set up in the building, under the Malayalam Mission, with a stock of 5,000 Malayalam books mainly to help Keralites in the National Capital Region to brush up their knowledge.
The Chief Minister later held a meeting with representatives of 22 Malayali associations in the NCR, who among other things, sought the State government's assistance for setting up a cultural centre in Delhi exclusively for Malayalis. They wanted a special wage board for the nurses of Kerala who were employed in private hospitals but were working without proper wages or duty hours. At least 95 per cent of the nurses working in Delhi's private hospitals were Malayalis, they claimed and asked Mr. Chandy to take up the issue with the Centre to protect their employment rights.