The Cabinet on Wednesday deferred a decision on corporatisation and unbundling of the State Electricity Board for discussions with the employees’ organisations in the Board.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the Cabinet meeting that the employees’ organisations had submitted differing representations on the proposals. The government wanted to take them into confidence and hold discussions with them.

The Power Minister had earlier held discussions with the employees. He would now convene a conference with the employees which would be attended by the Finance and Power Ministers. He and the Ministers would then place final proposals for approval of the Cabinet.

The Chief Minister said that about 2500 persons would be given promotions in the Police Department in two years. About 1000 constables would be promoted as head constables and 1000 head constables would be promoted as additional sub Inspectors. Besides, 500 additional sub inspectors would be promoted as sub inspectors. The remaining recommendations of the Shetty Commission on revision of pay scales for non-judicial staff would be implemented.

The Cabinet had decided to allocate Rs. 12 crore for building 800 houses for fishermen. This was in addition to the Budget provision of Rs. 4 crore. A project leader and six sectoral officers would be appointed for implementation of the Rs. 148-crore project for development of primitive tribes, funded by the Centre. A branch of the Civil Services Training Academy would be set up at Victoria College at Palakkad.

The Cabinet had sanctioned Rs. 10 lakh each as grant for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi and centenary celebrations of Sri Chitira Tirunal Balarama Varma )who was Maharaja of Travancore). The Nadukkara Agro-processing Company near Muvattupuzha would be handed over to the Vegetable and Fruits Promotion Council- Kerala. The compensation recommended by NHRC to endosulfan victims would not be curtailed.

Replying to questions, the Chief Minister said that the police had not tortured anyone who were taken into custody in connection with the murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan as alleged by the CPI (M). The accused had disclosed details of the plot to kill Chandrasekharan when confronted with scientific evidence. “Did CPI (M) State secretary M. M. Mani disclose the details of murders that had taken place in Idukki district because he was tortured by anyone? It showed that the truth could not be hidden for long.”

Mr. Chandy said that none forced Mr. Mani to leave the State after his disclosure. There were precedents of the police investigating old cases in the light of new disclosures as in the case of murder of naxalite Varghese.

He lamented that the communal violence was happening in some parts of the State though Marad, where violence had occurred previously, was now very peaceful. The people of Kerala know who are behind the violence. The government was trying to address the problem. “Communal amity is our strength. If communal incidents happen, it would lead to our destruction.”

He said that the ban on pan masala would be implemented strictly. Existing stocks in Kerala would not be allowed to be sold. However, traders would be allowed to take the stocks out of the State.

He said that the government was considering the Railways’ proposal that the Wagon factory at Palakkad should be set up with private participation. It needed time to examine the proposal.