Minister for Planning K.C. Joseph has said that fund-starved village panchayats would be provided assistance from the Hill Area Development Agency (HADA) under the Department of Planning and Economic Affairs.

Inaugurating a workshop titled ‘Comprehensive development through infrastructural facilities’ organised by HADA at chamber hall here on Tuesday, Mr. Joseph said many panchayats lacked funds for development activities. Projects were initiated without considering the backward status of panchayats, which were burdened with big projects and limited Plan funds. HADA would identify such panchayats and prepare development projects, Mr. Joseph said.

HADA would primarily focus on basic infrastructure development, drinking water supply, and irrigation projects.

The agency had been provided Rs.67.5 crore from the State government and NABARD. Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan said that instead of releasing financial aid when crops were hit by disease, assistance for disease control and replanting should be provided for farmers.

Under the Kera Samruddhi Project, 15 lakh coconut trees would be planted in the State in the next five years.

The project would commence on November 1.

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