Cabinet discusses KSRTC’s difficulties after being tagged as bulk carrier

The Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday urged the Central government to rescind the decision to withdraw diesel subsidy for public sector utility services.

The Cabinet, which discussed the difficulties caused to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation by the decision, felt that it could not agree with the withdrawal of the subsidy. State transport services and Railways should be exempted.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who briefed the media, said he had already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Petroleum Veerappa Moily objecting to the withdrawal of subsidy. The State’s Council of Ministers fully agreed with him.

The Chief Minister said the curtailing of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s services was only a temporary measure to reduce expenditure. Reduction of fleet and hike in fares were no solution to the KSRTC’s financial strain.

Amendment

Mr. Chandy said the Cabinet had decided to amend the Kerala Cooperatives Act to make it in tune with the 97th amendment to the Constitution. It had approved the Bill for this, and the legislation would be introduced in the coming session of the Assembly.

He said that 990 posts of clerks would be created for panchayats (one clerical post per panchayat) considering the shortage of staff in the local bodies. Financially capable panchayats would be allowed to have an assistant secretary. The Cabinet sanctioned 864 posts for this.

The Cabinet allocated Rs.3.45 crore as special grant for the preparations in connection with the Attukal temple festival. The amount would be used by the Irrigation, Water Transport, and Public Works departments for urgent works.

An acre of land at Muttathara village in Thiruvananthapuram would be given to the Motor Vehicles Department to set up a computerised vehicle testing station and computerised driver testing track. A police circle would be formed at Pathanapuram.

Posts of lecturer

The Cabinet sanctioned 66 posts of lecturer in government engineering colleges to fulfil the norms set by the All India Council for Technical Education. Besides, 36 posts would be filled through deputation. Posts would also be sanctioned for the Institute of Printing Technology and the Government Polytechnic College at Shoranur.

The Cabinet also decided to grant special grades to forest staff on the lines of the grades in the Police Department. Accordingly, beat forest officers with 15 years of service would be granted the grade of selection forest officer. Selection grade forest officers with 22 years of service would be granted the grade of deputy range forest officer and deputy range forest officers with 27 years of service would be elevated to the grade of range forest officer.

He said the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation would be exempted from paying fee to the Kerala State Electricity Board, Kerala Water Authority, and the Public Works Department in connection with construction of the Kochi Metro Rail.

The political pensions to erstwhile chieftains which are less than Rs.600 a month would be increased to Rs.1,000 a month. The political pension to the Paliyam Eswara Seva Trust would also be increased similarly.