Private companies owe Rs.564.21 crore as power charge arrears to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), Minister for Power and Transport Aryadan Mohammed has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Mohammed said the arrears from the State government offices amounted to Rs.139.37 crore, public sector undertakings Rs.524.38 crore, local self-government institutions Rs.8.71 crore, Central government offices Rs.2.08 crore, and Central PSUs Rs.20.67 crore.

Rail projects

He said two more coaches would soon be added to the Rajya Rani Express train. International bidding had begun for the railway coach factory at Kanjikode. The proposed Kochi metro rail project was awaiting the clearance of the Union Cabinet. Sufficient parking facilities would be provided at the 23 stations of the metro rail network.

Forest watchers

Minister for Forests K.B. Ganesh Kumar said a proposal for appointing 700 tribal forest watchers was awaiting the nod of the Finance Department. Now there was only 2,600 protective staff to guard the forests spanning 14,000 sq km. A project had been envisaged with Keltron for installing microchip in sandal trees to prevent theft. About 85 per cent of the forest fires were being made by plantation owners. More fire force units would be set up to check the spread of forest fires.

Vana Deepthi, a social forestry project for nurturing natural forests, wais being launched at Punalur municipality, he said.

Liquor sale

Excise Minister K. Babu said that 241.78 lakh cases of Indian Made Foreign Liquor and 97.82 lakh cases of beer were sold through the Kerala State Beverages Corporation outlets in 2011-12.

102 cases filed

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said 102 cases were filed and 297 accused arrested in connection with the violence which erupted following the murder of RMP leader T.P. Chandrasekharan.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said 1,713 people died in accidents involving two-wheelers in 2011.

Keywords: KSEB

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