The Planning Commission has cleared the proposal for setting up the long-awaited Cashew Board at Kollam, Chief Minister Ooomen Chandy informed the Assembly on Thursday.

Responding to a calling attention motion from A.A. Aziz (RSP), the Chief Minister said that only a formal decision was now necessary for setting up the Cashew Board. Planning Commission’s clearance was the toughest obstacle before the State. Now that the Commission has cleared the proposal, a formal decision should not be difficult.

He had taken up the issue with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar during the Cabinet’s visit to New Delhi. However, the Commerce Minister was not in Delhi on the day. The matter would be taken up once again with both Mr. Pawar and the Commerce Minister when he visits Delhi next, Mr. Chandy said.

Earlier, Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikkutty said that the State expected a favourable decision in the matter from the Centre any time now.

Cancer drug procurement

Responding to a calling attention motion from K. Sivadasan Nair (Congress), Health Minister Adoor Prakash said that the government proposed to strengthen the Kerala State Medical Services Corporation to procure cancer drugs on a large scale and market these at reasonable prices. The management school of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) had been asked to do a feasibility study on the subject. Steps would be taken for marketing cancer drugs once the report was ready. The government would also take steps to strengthen the oncology departments of government medical college hospitals, the Minister said.