Special Correspondent

Rs.1 crore each to Kottayam and Pathanamthitta to fight contagious diseases

The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to increase the availability of Plus Two seats in the northern districts of the State.

Briefing the media on Cabinet decisions, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said that there were shortages of seats in Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Kasaragod districts. This would be made up.

The Chief Minister recalled that a record number of 3.76 lakh students had passed the Plus Two stream this year. The seats available in the State were only 3.60 lakh. Some additional seats were available in the industrial training stream. Still, more seats were needed in the northern districts.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the Cabinet had decided to sanction Rs.1 crore each to Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts to fight chikungunya, dengue fever and other contagious diseases. Other affected districts would be sanctioned Rs.50 lakh each. The amount was to be spent for purposes such as purchase of medicines, mosquito nets and fogging machines.

Fishermen's rights

A Bill would be brought in the coming session of the Assembly for protection of the rights of fishermen for fishing during monsoon. Fishermen affected by the ban on trawling during monsoon along the coast would be given free rations for 47 days up to July 31. Sanction had been accorded for construction of sea wall at Arattupuzha.

Managing Director of Malabar Cements K.S. Sreenivasan would be posted as Collector of Palakkad. He would continue to hold charge of the Managing Director until alternative arrangements are made.

Mr. Achuthanandan denied reports that the Special Officer in charge of evictions and demolitions at Munnar was going on leave or wanting to quit his present assignment. The Government could not have foreseen the mistakes made by the Special Task Force relating to demolition of the front portion of the CPI office or its surmise that all the title deeds issued by the LDF Government in 1999 were illegal. As a political party, the CPI should have been given time to act on the notice served on it. The task forces would be provided with 25 more machines and 75 surveyors .

The Government had decided to exempt places of worship and offices of political parties from demolitions. Those who have complaints about exemption of the offices of the CPI, CPI (M) and the INTUC in Munnar could question that in courts.

"Then you can report the responses of the political parties," the Chief Minister told the media.

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