Special Correspondent

Focus on agriculture, animal husbandry and uplift of weaker sections

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the annual Plan of the State for 2009-2010 pegged at Rs.8,650 crore. This is 12.33 per cent higher than the current year’s Plan of Rs.7,700 crore.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the media after a Cabinet meeting that the emphasis of the Plan would be on agriculture, animal husbandry, traditional industries and uplift of weaker sections of society. The Plan proposed a safety net scheme at the panchayat level against fall in prices of crops that could result from the global economic crisis.

The Chief Minister said that special attention would be paid for social welfare, education and health. A sum of Rs.2,085 crore would be allocated to local self-government institutions against Rs.1,887 crore in the current year. The Plan envisaged large housing schemes such as the EMS Housing Scheme and the M.N. One Lakh Housing Scheme.

Mr. Achuthanandan said that though the Centre had promised to permit States to borrow Rs.30,000 crore, sanction for the same was yet to the received.

Kochi Metro Rail

He said the proposed Kochi Metro Rail project would be carried forward as a joint sector project with the participation of the Central and State governments. The Centre had not denied funding for the project. An office for the project would be set up in Kochi as suggested by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The Cabinet had allocated Rs.50 lakh for this.

The Cabinet had given clearance for building a multi-storeyed commercial complex at the Kozhikode bus stand of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). It would be built as a joint venture of the KSRTC and the State Transport Development and Finance Corporation at a cost of Rs.43 crore.

The Cabinet, he said, approved the purchase price recommended by the purchase committee and approved by the empowered committee for acquisition of 441 hectares for the Kannur airport project on a fast track basis.

It formed a subcommittee to study and recommend action on the study report of the Centre for Development Studies on the measures needed to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis on the State. Ministers for Finance, Agriculture, Industries, Food and Civil Supplies and Water Resources are its members.

The Cabinet granted Rs.1 lakh as assistance for Padinjareveettil Aneesh (Azhikode, Kannur) who is under treatment after being injured while fighting the terrorists during the recent Mumbai attack.

Asked about the allegation that former Minister A. Neelalohithadasan Nadar had presented a forged document to defend himself in the Nalini Netto case, the Chief Minister said that the appeal court would take cognizance of the matter and punish the guilty.