Staff Reporter

Revenue earnings projected at Rs.66.47 crore

Rs. 13.46 crore for poverty alleviation

Kole land development allocated Rs. 16 crore

KOZHIKODE: The district panchayat budget 2008-09 presented by V. Kunhali, vice-president and finance standing committee chairman, here on Wednesday stressed on reviving agriculture in the district with comprehensive schemes for paddy and coconut cultivation.

While giving utmost priority to the primary sector, substantial funds were allocated for education and welfare schemes too in the budget proposals to achieve the goals of decentralised planning; social justice and comprehensive development.

The budget projected a total revenue earnings of Rs.66.47 crore and expenditure to the tune of Rs.64 crore.

The total allocation for the agriculture sector was to the tune of Rs.20.37crore, of which Rs.16 crore was earmarked for kole land development at Velam–Ayyanchery, Karuvode and Cherandathur chira, with the assistance of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

Mr. Kunhali said the stress on agriculture was to uplift and increase productivity in the sector that had been crisis-ridden for more than a decade.

The comprehensive coconut development project being implemented successfully by the district panchayat was a measure to benefit the coconut farmer. Units for manufacturing value-added products from coconut would be set up in the district with technical assistance from Subicsha, he said.

A sum of Rs.50 lakh was allocated for comprehensive development of paddy and coconut, and Rs.15 lakh for vegetable cultivation. Funds have been allotted for soil conservation (Rs.15 lakh), Kuthali farm training centre construction (Rs.1 crore), tackling bud rot in coconut (Rs.40 lakh), mechanisation without loss to man days and animal husbandry.

The education sector was allocated a total of Rs.18.94 crore, with Rs.2 crore earmarked for developing laboratory, library and toilet infrastructure in schools. An allocation of Rs.1 crore each was made for school building and classroom construction, besides allocations for noon meals, furniture, smart classrooms, and pedagogy park.

In the health sector, funds were allocated for development of the women’s ward at the District Ayurveda Hospital and old people’s home (R.50 lakh), besides assistance for the differently-abled, rural electrification, completion of drinking water projects in district, and developing anganawadi infrastructure, amounting to an allotment of Rs.5.15 crore.

Other welfare measures included strengthening of Kudumbasree units, imparting training in skilled jobs as part of women’s empowerment, scholarships for students from SC/ST sectors, total electrification of colonies in the district and implementing the Ashraya project.

Allocation for industry was to the tune of Rs.2.27 crore, with Rs.1 crore earmarked for the Kattipara industrial estate, Rs.20 lakh for development of small industries, and an equal sum for the sand processing industry, among other projects in association with grama panchayats.

Rural road improvement, assistance to recognised libraries and cultural centres and popularising sports activities found mention in the budget.

The budget proposal of the Poverty Alleviation Unit (PAU) placed earning at Rs.13.46 crore with an equal expenditure. District panchayat president K.P. Kunahmmedkutty presided.

Members M. Lakshmi, T. Moideen Koya, Milli Mohan, Avala Narayanan, among others, participated in the discussions that followed. While welcoming the budget proposals, members opined that adequate priority had not been given to tourism and cash crops such as cashew.

Condolence

The budget meeting condoled the death of playwright K.T. Mohammed. Mr. Kunahmmedkutty said the death of KT had created a terrible void in the arena of drama.

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