The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to sanction Rs.4 crore more as assistance to the Kochi Biennale which had attracted controversy over spending of government money.

Briefing the media, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the proposed vigilance inquiry against the organisers of the biennale was dropped. Further assistance to the biennale had been kept in abeyance pending vigilance inquiry into use of Rs.5 crore sanctioned earlier.

The Chief Minister said the previous government had released Rs.5 crore without stipulating any conditions. However, only expenditure according to government norms would be approved.

Mr. Chandy said the inspection wing of the Finance Department had done a good job in reporting about use of the funds in violation of the norms. The present decision was keeping its report in view and incorporating the necessary conditions.

The Chief Minister recalled that he had attended the inaugural of biennale which was a grand event.

Mr. Chandy said the government would be willing to provide security and other help if IPL cricket match was played in Kochi. The organisers had met him in this regard and he would be happy if they hold the match in Kochi. However, he could not say anything now about exempting the match from entertainment tax. There was set procedure for granting such exemptions. He said the government takeover of cooperative medical colleges in Kochi and Pariyaram was under active consideration. But, no decision had been taken.

He said no region had been neglected regarding sanctioning of new government colleges. The decision was to set up colleges in all constituencies without a college, if land was made available. Either government land should be there or the panchayat or others should find the land. Besides, the local member of the Assembly should contribute funds for constructing building from his asset development fund.

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