The Kerala government has sought Central support for 11 major development projects, including the launch of Air Kerala, the State-owned aviation service.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, along with his Cabinet colleagues, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday night at the hotel where he was staying to press the State’s demands.

Kerala has sought Central support for sharing the financial burden of providing compensation to endosulfan victims in Kasaragod. It is estimated that about Rs.450 crore is required for the compensation package.

The delegation drew the Prime Minister’s attention to the spiralling airfare in the Gulf sector where a large number of Keralites were employed. They urged the Centre to widen the scope of definition of natural calamity. The delegation members suggested that disasters caused by lightning and deaths due to incidents such as snakebite too be included in the ambit of the definition of natural disaster.

Kerala reiterated its demand for an Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology status for the Cochin University of Science and Technology. It also revived its campaign to obtain classical language status for Malayalam at the meeting with Mr. Singh.

The Health Department sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to upgrade the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, to the status of a national institution. The Health Department has estimated that it would require Rs.800 crore to upgrade the status of one of its premier research and medical care centre to national standards.

Besides the Ministers, Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar, Planning Board vice-chairman K.M. Chandrasekhar and Prime Minister’s adviser T.K.A. Nair too were present at the meeting, which lasted for nearly 20 minutes.

Union Ministers A.K. Antony, K.V. Thomas and E. Ahamed were present at the hotel where the delegation met the Prime Minister. Mr. Singh met the Ministers after his interaction with 15 students from the National Institute for Speech and Hearing who presented him a painting. The representatives of Student Police Cadets and Jancy James, Vice-Chancellor of the Central University, too met the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

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