The Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday asked Chief Secretary Neela Gangadharan to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the recent accident involving a gas tanker and a car at Karungappally and explosion of the gas in the tanker.

It also sanctioned Rs. 5 lakhs each to the next of kin of seven persons who had died in the accident. Rs. 25000 each will be paid to the injured. Besides, the dependents of the dead will be given land and house under the EMS Housing Scheme. In addition, a member of each of the families will be given suitable employment.

The Cabinet also decided to provide compensation to those who had lost houses and shops in the accident, on the basis of the report of the district collector.

Briefing the media, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said that 18 shops and four houses had been destroyed in the gas explosion and fire that followed the accident. Many shops and houses were damaged. The total losses came to about Rs. 1.25 crore. Efforts would be made to get compensation from the oil and insurance companies, after collection of complete data on the accident (in addition to the compensation proposed to be provided by the government).

The Chief Minister also announced that restrictions on appointment of additional teachers in schools upon increase in divisions would be withdrawn and appointments made from 2006-07 would be approved. About 2900 teachers would benefit from the decision.

Mr. Achuthanandan said that the Cabinet had also given clearance, in principle, for the 40 MW Pambar hydroelectric project proposed by the State Electricity Board. It had also decided to declare 2010 as Sports Year and had approved the sports calendar for the year.

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