The United Democratic Front (UDF) has decided to launch a massive awareness campaign across the State to promote the subsidy schemes formulated by the government for waste management at the local level. The UDF extended its support to the government decision to utilise abandoned quarries as landfills for municipal wastes as an alternative solution to the waste management problems in Thiruvananthapuram, besides convening a meeting of local MLAs in the district to bring about a consensus on the issue.

Addressing a press conference after the HPC meeting at the Chief Minister’s residence here, UDF convener P.P. Thankachan said the meeting discussed the issue of amending the Tranvancore Devaswom Board Act with regard to voting rights of MLAs. The meeting also gave clearance to a proposal to sanction no-objection certificates to six proposals for setting up medical colleges in the self-financing sector, subject to the norms of the Medical Council of India.

Takeover of hospitals

The UDF also discussed the question of takeover of Pariyaram Cooperative Medical College and the Kochi Cooperative Medical College on the basis of the written request of the Cooperation Minister C.N. Balakrishnan. With regard to the bus fare hike, the UDF felt that more discussions were necessary on some of the demands made by the bus operators. The UDF convener indicated that there was a move to consider revising students’ bus fare concessions, but this would be done only after discussions with students’ unions.

With regard to fair value of land, Mr. Thankachan pointed out that the late T.M. Jacob had presented a note to the Cabinet suggesting changes. Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob has been asked to examine the note and come up with suggestions on rectifying the shortcomings in the fair value that has been announced. Similarly, the government sub-committee, which was examining the issue, has been asked to submit its report to the Minister by October 31 to facilitate an early decision, he said.

Salary for teachers

The UDF also recommended a relook at the proposal to pay salary to teachers who had been elected as panchayat presidents. The Cabinet had earlier rejected the proposal, but the UDF felt that the matter should be re-examined. The UDF also agreed in principle to extend interest sops on education loans to all those who had availed themselves of such advances prior to 2006. The Cabinet had already approved an interest concession scheme for those who had taken advances after 2006. The Finance Minister would prepare a note under this head prior to a final political decision, Mr. Thankachan said.

Earlier, the High Power Committee of the UDF gave its political clearance for the proposal to subsidise cooking gas for all sections of the consumers to the extent of three additional cylinders over and above the ceiling of six fixed by oil companies. The proposal is expected to put additional financial burden of around Rs.100 crore.