New proposal under consideration

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan told the Assembly here on Tuesday that the government was considering a proposal to make helmets mandatory for two-wheeler riders to buy petrol from fuel outlets.

Replying to a submission moved by P. Sreeramakrishnan, Mr. Radhakrishnan said the stipulation, already in force in some States, would force two-wheeler owners to comply with the helmet rule.

Moving the submission, Mr. Sreeramakrishnan said high-handedness by the police during checking of vehicles had been responsible for several accidents. “Policemen often pounce upon motorists and resort to uncivilised methods of checking,” he said.

Civilised ways

The Minister said checking of vehicles was needed to detect drunk driving, talking on the mobile while driving, and carrying of explosives or weapons in vehicles.

He said the police would be asked to ensure civilised methods of checking vehicles.

Concessions

Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan said the government would consider more concessions on the interest on agricultural loans to help farmers tide over the drought crisis. Replying to a submission moved by C. Divakaran, Mr. Mohanan said the failure of two consecutive monsoons had led to water scarcity and crop failure in large parts of the State.

Salinity intrusion into paddy fields had aggravated the situation.

He said the government had declared a one-year moratorium on recovery of farm loans, and was introducing a one-time settlement to waive the interest on the outstanding farm loans.

Farm sector

The Budget proposal to extend interest-free loans to small and marginal farmers was another intervention to minimise the impact of the drought on the agriculture sector.

The Minister said Kerala expected a liberal assistance from the Union government based on the assessment of the Central team touring the State to study the drought situation.