A free medical consultation helpline (HIHL—Health Information Helpline), with the prescription of a doctor sent across through SMS apart from other allied medical services will be introduced across the State in about a month.

It will be similar to the 108 ambulance services and the helpline number for medical consultation will be 104. To begin with, equipment to handle 100 calls at a time will be installed and if needed, will be expanded to 300 calls. On receipt of a call, the phone attendant will note down the details and then obtain medical advice from a panel of doctors and forward it to the caller through SMS facility.

Briefing mediapersons after a meeting of the State Cabinet here on Thursday, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar said that the free medical service will be conducted under the supervision of the Department of Health and Family Welfare. The service will have a resemblance to the one introduced by Andhra Pradesh sometime ago.

The call centre will work in three shifts round the clock and assistance will be available on all days of the year. Information will be provided on the availability of blood in the nearest blood bank of the caller and counselling services. People can provide information on the prevalence of new infections, apart from floods and other natural disasters.

Mr. Suresh Kumar said that the Cabinet also cleared a proposal to provide financial assistance to special schools taking care of autistic children. Another important decision of the State Cabinet is the extension of the cut-off date for regularisation of unauthorised constructions on government land. The original deadline of April 14, 1998, has now been extended to January 1, 2012, based on the amendments to the Karnataka Land Revenue Act. This relief is, however, not applicable to unauthorised constructions in the jurisdiction of the BBMP and other city municipal corporations and the urban local bodies. Even in the rural areas, unauthorised constructions in parks and playgrounds, roads and storm-water drains will not be eligible for regularisation.

The other decisions of the Cabinet included approval for a web-based online admission system encompassing nearly 350 government and aided industrial training institutes; extension of the Vajpayee Arogyasri health scheme to cover BPL families in the Bangalore and Mysore revenue divisions; permission to Nirani Sugars to purchase 74.8 acres land (for expansion) in Mudhol taluk of Bijapur district; to RBSSN Ferrous Ltd., Bellary, to purchase 123 acres of land for expansion; to Ex-India Steels Ltd., Koppal, to purchase 18 acres of land for expansion and permission; to Saipriya Sugars, Hippargi, to purchase 34.18 acres; to JK Cements 228 acres in Mudhol taluk; and to Radhakrishna Educational Trust to purchase 21.07 acres in Kanakapura taluk to start a medical college.

Mr. Suresh Kumar said the Cabinet also approved modernisation of the Harangi left bank canal at a cost of Rs. 14 crore; modernisation of the Tunga canal of the Gajanur reservoir in Shimoga district at a cost of Rs. 309 crore; and an independent government department for the backward classes, with the bifurcation of the Department of Social Welfare.