Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran on Wednesday said work on a waste treatment plant at Sabarimala would begin this festival season.

He told the Assembly during question hour that the Rs.29-crore project would come up before the next meeting of the Cabinet for administrative sanction.

Minister for Devaswom Kadannapally Ramachandran informed the House that the government was awaiting the report of a survey for the construction of a ropeway at Sabarimala.

Answering a question raised by Aisha Potti, he said the ropeway would begin at the Pamba Hilltop and end before the police mess at the Sannidhanam.

He said Rs.3 crore had been sanctioned for the renovation of temples under the Malabar Devaswom.

Labour banks

Minister for Local-Self Government Paloli Mohammed Kutty said the government would encourage labour banks to tide over the shortage of labourers for farming.

Answering supplementaries, he said moves were on to promote fish farming in ponds and tanks under local bodies. The Minister said efforts to utilise workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for agriculture had failed because of the disparity in wages.

The Centre, he added, had not granted a proposal sent by the State government to enhance the wages of workers under the MGNREGS to Rs.200.

Mr.Kutty said the local bodies had been directed not to grant approval for houses constructed on land reclaimed from paddy fields within the last 10 years. Several MLAs alleged that local bodies were making a mockery of the law against reclamation of paddy fields by granting numbers for such houses.

The Minister informed the House that 62,655 acres, including 17,714 acres of fallow land had been brought under group farming by the Kudumbasree and Ayalkoottam groups.

Minimum wages

Minister for Fisheries S.Sarma said moves were on to introduce minimum wages for peeling workers. He said a decision would be taken after a committee set up for the purpose submitted its report to the government.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the House that an amount of Rs.96.11 crore had been levied from the public as fine for various traffic offences since the government assumed power.

In a written reply, he said no target had been fixed for police stations to register petty cases on violation of traffic rules.

Replying to another question by P.K. Abdurab, he said 22 police officials had been given permission to act in films and TV serials. He explained that the permission was issued on the basis of a declaration that the officials would not accept remuneration and that the filming would not affect their official duty or public interest.