Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the government will press for market rates for the land to be taken for laying the underground Kochi-Mangalore-Bangalore LNG pipeline of GAIL India Ltd.
Replying to a submission by E.P. Jayarajan in the Assembly on Thursday, Mr. Chandy said over 18 acres that was needed by GAIL was not being acquired but only taken for Right of Use. The normal compensation given by GAIL was 10 per cent of the fair value. Mr. Chandy said GAIL had raised it to 30 per cent and the width of the land to be taken had been reduced from 20 m to 10 m on the government’s intervention.
The Chief Minister said GAIL would be taking 20 m initially so that vehicles could move around. The land would continue to remain with the people but no construction would be allowed. However, they could carry out farming. Compensation would be paid for the trees that were cut and for buildings.
Minister for Rural Development K.C. Joseph told the House that the government had asked the Union government to increase the daily wages for those enrolling under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from the present Rs.164 to Rs.200.
Replying to a submission by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the Minister said the government had also sought the Union government’s clearance for including the coir and the traditional sectors under the MGNREGS. Nearly 98 per cent of those who enrolled under the MGNREGS in the State were women, and the Centre had agreed to change the working hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Since it was a poverty alleviation programme, the wages could not be hiked to Rs.320 as demanded by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Joseph said.
Minister for Home and Vigilance Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told the House that a high-level committee with the Principal Secretary, Home, as the convener had been set up to look into starting 24-hour post-mortem examinations in government hospitals in the State.
Mr. Radhakrishnan said the committee, which had the Law Secretary and the Health Principal Secretary as members, had been asked by the Cabinet to look into the issue, as forensic doctors were asking for an increase in staff strength to begin the 24-hour post-mortem examinations.
Replying to a submission by N.A. Nelikunnu, the Minister said infrastructure and proper lighting were needed to start post-mortem examinations round the clock.