The government has directed the Kerala Agricultural University to study the menace caused by giant African snail in different parts of the State.

While replying to questions in the Assembly on Monday, Agriculture Minister Mullakara Retnakaran said that the university has been directed to study the damage caused to coconut palms by the snail.

A pilot project for developing organic farming in 20 blocks will be launched on October 2. Idukki and Wayanad have been chosen for intensive promotion of organic farming in the first phase. It has been proposed to popularise organic farming all over the State within the next 10 years, he said.

Regarding the continued use of Endosulfan in Muthalamada panchayat in Palakkad district, the Minister said that the banned pesticide is being smuggled in different names from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The State government does not reserve the powers to ban the entry of the pesticide in other names, he said.

Transport Minister Jose Thettayil said that the government has no plan to hike the bus fare for students. Of the 26,293 stage carriers in the State, KSRTC has 5,496 buses and private operators own 20,797 buses. During the past four years, KSRTC buses were involved in 3858 road accidents and private buses 16,980 accidents.

Power Minister A.K.Balan said that owing to court directives KSEB could not recover power charge arrears worth Rs.419.71 crore from defaulters. Cooperation Minister G.Sudhakaran said that the government will take stringent action against cooperative societies which do not pay the mandated daily wages of Rs.150 to the coir workers.

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