Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran has said that giving up the land owned by the Agriculture department at Vytilla for the proposed bus terminal in lieu of an alternative land was not practical.

Talking to reporters at Kakkanad near here on Monday, he cited, among other things, technical difficulties for handing over the land.

The minister said that the land at Vytilla was ideal for direct marketing of agricultural products under the various marketing projects conceived by the Central government for marketing agriculture produce.

Direct marketing was vital to avoid the presence of middlemen and to ensure maximum profits to the farmers. The land at Vytilla is apt for the purpose, Mr. Ratnakaran said.

He, however, said that a meeting of various departments and agencies concerned including Greater Cochin Development Authority, district panchayat and Kochi Corporation would be held shortly to resolve the dispute over releasing the land at Vytilla for the bus terminal.

Relief for farmers

Mr. Ratnakaran said that all the farmers in distress in the State who had not received Central government aid would be given relief based on the recommendations of the State Agriculture Debt Relief Commission.

He said that the interest-free loan scheme given to paddy farmers in the State was the first of its kind in the country.

The minister also said that insurance coverage to paddy farmers had been increased from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 12,500.