The Cabinet decided on Wednesday to grant Rs. 1 lakh to the families of those who had died in heavy rain, winds and lightening in Alappuzha district on Monday.

Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan told the media that widespread damage had occurred as a result of the natural calamities. The collector would assess the losses and submit a detailed report to the government for providing compensation.

The Chief Minister said that a separate department for Sports and Youth Welfare would be formed at the Secretariat, considering the growing importance of sports.

He announced that the family of the forest guard P. Devadas, who had been gunned down by a poacher while on guard duty at Thamarassery range in Kozhikode district, would be paid Rs. 5 lakhs as solatium.

The Cabinet had approved a proposal that all government pensioners should open a treasury savings account for routing the pension payments. Core banking would be introduced in the government treasures as part of the proposals and automatic teller machines would be set up to facilitate easy withdrawal of money from the accounts.