The Kerala government has appealed to the Centre to relax the norms for inclusion of paddy lands in the Central food security scheme so that the Kuttanad region and the kole lands in Thrissur district could be brought under its ambit, Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Rathnakaran told the Assembly on Monday.

Responding to a calling attention motion moved by Murali Perunelli (CPI-M), the Agriculture Minister said the State wanted the Centre to waive the norm that only paddy holdings having a contiguous extent of 50,000 hectares could be included in the Central scheme. In Kerala, paddy fields were fragmentary in nature, but the different regions of paddy cultivation such as the Kuttanad region and the kole lands in Thrissur district were quite distinctive and should be considered as one contiguous region. The Centre had not so far responded favourably to the State's plea, he said.

The Minister said the State had also been trying to get the Centre to agree to reclassifying paddy produced in Kerala as ‘A' class. The Centre had classified paddy produced in Kerala as ‘B' class resulting in substantial loss in Central assistance. The Opposition should join the government in getting the State's demands accepted by the Centre, the Agriculture Minister said.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said in response to a calling attention motion moved by Therambil Ramakrishnan (Congress) that he was ready to convene an all-party meeting to resolve the dispute over solid waste disposal in the Thrisusr Corporation area. He had actually convened a meeting on March 10, but had called it off on being informed that Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty was holding talks with the parties concerned on the issue, the Chief Minister said.

He informed the House that as many as 25 urban local bodies had commissioned solid waste processing plants and another 11 were in the process of doing so. The government's effort was to treat solid wastes at source in a decentralised manner, Mr. Achuthanandan added.

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