State to launch a slew of programmes in farm sector

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POLICY SPEECH: Governor R.L. Bhatia delivering his address to the Assembly on Friday. Beside him is Speaker K. Radhakrishnan. Photo: S. Gopakumar
POLICY SPEECH: Governor R.L. Bhatia delivering his address to the Assembly on Friday. Beside him is Speaker K. Radhakrishnan. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Special Correspondent

2007-08 to be observed as `Harithavarsham' to promote agriculture

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Agriculture and allied areas are to be the focus area for the Left Democratic Front Government during the coming financial year. A slew of programmes, including one to produce 15 lakh tonnes of vegetables and another to create 100 bio-villages, have been announced in the Governor's Address to the State Assembly, which began its Budget session here on Friday.

Governor R. L. Bhatia told the Assembly that 2007-08 would be observed as `Harithavarsham' and that the Department of Agriculture would be re-christened Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare to reflect the Government's commitment to promote agriculture and welfare of farmers.

Besides `Harithasree,' a vegetable cultivation programme, there would be special programmes to develop Palakkad, Wayanad and Idukki as `Vegetable Districts,' to develop 100 bio-villages with emphasis on organic farming and two schemes, `Kerasree' and `Keralasree,' to promote coconut and paddy cultivation respectively. `Kisan Sree,' a scheme to provide security to farmers, is also on the anvil.

Industrial sector

In the sphere of industries, the Government plans to set up an Electronic Hub at Kochi and a Spices Park in Idukki. A Biotechnology Park and an Electronics Corridor would be established in Kochi and a Health and Textile Corridor in Palakkad. The Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO) would set up a Telecom City, which would create 6,000 new employment opportunities. The Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) would set up a Knowledge Park in Kozhikode with world-class facilities.

Wayanad would be made a major centre of milk production by establishing a joint venture with NRI participation. A new scheme to create `poultry villages' would be launched to double production of egg. Interest-free loans would be given to 40,000 fisherwomen and 100 model fish markets set up at select centres. A comprehensive insurance scheme titled `Matsya Dhenu' has been conceived for the benefit of fisher folk and their families. Cooperatives would give loans at 4 per cent interest to poor women to meet their marriage expenses.

Health policy

The Government would soon come out with a People's Health Policy, State Women's Policy and IT Policy, enact a new unified Public Health Act and set up a Medical University and an Open University. The State Youth Welfare Board would launch a `Planned Self-Employment' Scheme by operating `Self-Employment Exchanges' at the grama panchayat level. A chain of youth hostels would be built in the districts, a youth brigade named `Yuvasena' constituted to deal with disaster management and a scheme named `Sanaadha Balyam' implemented for the deprived and destitute adolescents including street children, orphans and inmates of care homes and juvenile homes.

Attributing the current price spiral to Central policies, the Governor said the Government was taking all steps possible, including direct purchase of essentials from production centres outside the State, to tackle the situation.

Mr. Bhatia said the Government considered it imperative to make local bodies vibrant institutions for governance. The State Government would open four cyber crime police stations and computerise all stations in four districts as part of modernisation of the police force.

Cyber police stations would be opened in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode in 2007-08 to tackle computer-related crimes.

All police stations in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Kannur districts would be computerised.

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