Waterways to be linked to small ports: K. Babu

The State government has initiated a series of steps to move cargo by waterways by linking them with small ports to decongest roads, Minister for Ports K. Babu has said.

He was replying to questions in the Assembly on Monday. The Minister said the government had announced a subsidy of Rs.1 on every tonne of cargo moved through every one km of waterway.

The Kerala State Maritime Development Corporation had signed an agreement to charter a ship for the cargo service.

The transport of cargo would be taken up in the Kollam-Kochi section in the first phase and attempts were on to shift 20 per cent of the cargo now being moved by road to waterways, he said.

The Industries Department had been asked to explore ways to move the cargo of public sector undertakings from Kollam through this route. The Minister said it had been found that Rs.5,000 can be saved per container. Incentives would be given to build ships. Rebates would be allowed on port dues, he said. buildings and rebate on port dues.

In reply to another question, the Minister said steps had been taken by the Excise Department to check smuggling of drugs and liquor into the State. Raids and patrolling of highways would be intensified, he said.

The government would launch an awareness campaign to prevent the use and distribution of pan masala in the State by migrant workers.

Rural courts

The Chief Minister, in a written reply, said the government was considering the setting up of rural courts to handle civil and criminal cases. The House could consider imposing a penalty if services are not delivered under the Right to Service Act.

Directive to ADGP

The government had asked the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Training, to take steps to impart training in ‘public behaviour and courteous dealing’ to women civil police officers, Minister for Home and Vigilance Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said. The instruction had been given on the basis of a report filed by the ADGP (Intelligence) that the officers were not behaving properly with those who came to police stations.

Garbage dumping

Mr. Radhakrishnan said 2,533 cases had been registered for dumping of garbage in public places. In Thiruvananthapuram city, 199 cases had been registered, 97 in Thiruvananthapuram rural, 492 in Ernakulam city, 126 in Ernakulam rural, 92 in Kozhikode city, and 31 in Kozhikode rural.

Freshwater fish

Mr. Babu, who also holds the charge of Fisheries, told the House that 10 freshwater fish species were critically endangered, 25 other endangered; and 18 vulnerable as per a study by the State Fisheries Management Society. The construction of dams, changes in the environment, sand-mining, uncontrolled fishing, monsoon fishing, pollution, unscientific fishing methods, and invasion of foreign species were the main reasons.

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