About half the population of Kerala will get rice at Rs. 2 a kg with the Cabinet clearing the proposal to extend the scheme to unorganised workers here on Wednesday.

Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan told the media after the Cabinet meeting that the workers would get food grains at Rs. 2 a kg irrespective of whether they were living above or below the poverty line. The State had about 70 lakh ration card holders. Of them, 35 lakh cardholders (families) would get rice and wheat at Rs. 2 a kg.

Energy Efficiency

The Chief Minister announced that the Cabinet had decided to form an apex committee with the Chief Secretary as chairman to lead energy conservation and energy efficiency measures in the State.

Anti-temple-theft squad

Mr. Achuthanandan also announced that special temple anti-theft squad would be formed under the Crime Branch CID to investigate cases related to thefts from temples. A police aid post would be set up at the campus of Cooperative Medical College at Kalamassery in Kochi.

The Cabinet had decided to relax the seniority norms of dying in harness scheme to provide employment to next of kin of fire man Samir who was killed while engaged in rescue efforts following the gas tanker accident at Karunagappally in December last year.

The Chief Minister said that the job would be provided in the Fire and Rescue Services Department or other departments on receipt of application from the family.

Full cost of treatment would be reimbursed to the station officer Viswanath and lead fireman Vinod Kumar who were injured in the explosion that followed the accident. They would also be paid full salaries and allowance for the duration of the treatment, considering the period as ‘special hospital leave’.