Kerala Cabinet, in principle, approved the recommendation of the Justice Ramachandran Nair committee for an increase in bus fares in the State and formed a Cabinet subcommittee to examine the proposals on Wednesday.

The sub committee consisting of the Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Finance Minister K. M. Mani and Industries Minister P. K. Kunhalikutty would hold discussions with transport operators and decide on the quantum of increase. Revision of taxi and autorikshaw fares is also under consideration. A special meeting of the Cabinet, meeting on October 9, would take final decisions on fare revision.

The Cabinet also proposed to consider a package for increasing the cooking gas cylinders to be allotted to consumers at subsidised rates after discussions at various levels. The UDF had demanded that the families living above poverty line too should be given cylinders on par with those proposed to be given to families living below the poverty line (BPL). “The matter is under active consideration,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the Cabinet meeting.

The Chief Minister announced that the Cabinet had decided to grant permissive sanction to local self governments to provide building tax cut of up to 10 per cent to homes using biogas plants or pipe compost for waste disposal. The Thiruvananthapuram Mayor had sought the cut. The local self government would be free to determine the level of tax cut subject to the ceiling of 10 per cent. The benefit would be available to existing users of biogas plants and pipe compost units.

The Cabinet had also decided to pay the interest on educational loans availed by BPL families from banks between 2004 and 2009 for the period of study. This would be subject to the condition that the banks should forego penal interest and charges. A nine member committee with representatives of banks named by the lead bank and secretaries to the government would work out the modalities. The Centre would be providing interest on loans availed from 2009. The banks would be urged to review its policy against granting loans to students studying outside the State.

Mr. Chandy said that a Cabinet subcommittee would again attempt resolution of the disputes between Malankara Orthodox and Jacobite churches, on their request. The Finance Minister, Home Minister, Revenue Minister Excise Minister and Minister for Panchayats would be in the committee.

The Cabinet had decided, in principle, to increase the bonus and pumping subsidy to paddy cultivators. The final decision would be taken on Tuesday. Rs. 50 crore would be released immediately for paddy procurement.

It had given administrative sanction for the Ponnani-Kozhikode-Vengalam coastal highway, costing Rs. 118 crore and the proposed Technocity IT Park at Pala.

He said that the Cabinet had discussed the outbreak of cholera in Thiruvananthapuram and had decided to set up sewerage treatment plants to cover areas under ten public health centres. He would examine the delay in providing protected water supply to the Vizhinjam area.

The Cabinet had granted Rs. 3 lakh each to next of kin of five persons who were killed in accident at the railway crossing at Aroor recently. The Railways did not provide compensation to victims of accidents at unmanned railway crossings. It would be urged to man all level crossings in the State against the background of the accident.