Jose Thettayil, who has taken over as Transport Minister, says that road safety will be his first priority as accident rates have caused concern.

New Transport Minister of Kerala Jose Thettayil said here on Monday that road safety would be his first priority as Minister.Talking to journalists after assuming office, the Minister said the accident rates in the State had caused concern. He would be focussing on enforcement of the rules to improve safety on the roads.To a question, he said that he had not thought about the question of revising bus fares.

He had not studied the issue.Asked about the move of the Janata Dal (S) faction led by M. P. Veerendra Kumar to seek his disqualification under anti-defection law, the Minister said that he and Mathew T. Thomas had not defected (to any party). "There is only one Janata Dal (S) and we represent the Janata Dal (S)," Mr. Thettayil added.“We have answers for all legal issues,” he said, in reply to a question whether they had not contested on the ticket of the State unit of the Janata Dal (S) in the Assembly elections.

Two other Ministers, P. J. Joseph and Ramachandran Kadannapppally, also assumed office, soon after the swearing-in ceremony.