The Cabinet on Friday gave clearance for establishment of four government medical colleges in the State.

The colleges are to come up at Konni in Pathanamthitta district, Manjeri in Malappuram district, Idukki and Kasaragod. The medical colleges had been announced in the Revised Budget presented by the UDF government.

The Cabinet also decided to appoint a three-member expert committee headed by Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran to enquire into the fire at Palayam in Kozhikode. In view of the deficiencies faced by the Fire and Rescue Department in quelling the fire, the Cabinet asked the Chief Secretary to take steps to equip the fire force with modern fire-fighting equipment similar to those in the airports.

Briefing the media on the Cabinet decisions, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the local people had contributed significantly in controlling the fire. The government would consider presentation of some rewards to them.

The Chief Minister said that the Cabinet had discussed coconut development and manufacture of value added products from coconuts, with the Managing Director of State Coconut Development Corporation T. K. Jose making a presentation. “We are late in taking up projects for coconut development. So, special attention is to be paid.” A meeting of those concerned including officials of Agriculture Department and Coconut Development Corporation, Kerala Agricultural University and other agencies would be held on April 18 to discuss plans.

Mr. Chandy said that the construction of 253 roads under the Prime Minister’s Sadak Yojana in the State was in limbo because the scheme did not permit acceptance of tenders in excess of the estimates. The work had no takers because contractors preferred works under the Public Works Department which allowed for tender excess. So, the Cabinet had decided to allow tender excess for works under the Yojana also with the State government bearing the costs. This would be subject to norms of the Department. The Centre had sanctioned 303 roads under the Scheme and only 50 had takers.

About 2.47 hectares belonging to the Police Academy in Thrissur would be given to the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan on lease for setting up a school.

Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said that CPI (M) should clarify whether reports that Muslim Youth League activist Abdul Shukkur had been murdered after a “trial” in public were true, instead of alleging that news was given out from the Chief Minister’s office. “Two had been arrested in connection with murder. Are they connected to the CPI (M)?” News about how Shukkur was “identified” from among five held by party men had appeared in local newspapers after the murder.

In reply to another question, Mr. Chandy said that the payment of arrears to Home Guards were not in arrears. Excess grants had been sought and granted in view of a shortfall in Budget provision. Shajeev, who committed suicide at Neyyattinkara with a suicide note that his salary had been delayed, did not belong to the Home Guards. He was employed temporarily for two months without a Budget provision for immediate payment. However, the government had sanctioned the payments (though there was delay).

RELATED NEWS

No green signal yet for the Yuva Kisan March 17, 2012