Special Correspondent

Scheme to lease out fallow lands to farmers, farm workers

Priority for public health facilities

Revenue of Rs.20.56 crore expected

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Attingal municipality is preparing to launch a major initiative to revive the flagging farm sector and enhance agricultural productivity.

The annual budget of the municipality for the year 2008-’09 proposes a scheme to lease out fallow lands to farmers and farm workers’ organisations for cultivation. Another proposal is the introduction of threshing machines to make paddy cultivation more profitable.

Promotion of medicinal plant cultivation, planting of teak saplings in public places and fish farming are other initiatives to be taken up. The budget proposes steps to set up vegetable gardens at the homestead level and in schools.

The construction of a check dam and renovation of the lift irrigation project at Avanavanchery are to be given priority. Protection of natural drainage channels is another thrust area.

The budget accords priority to the improvement of public health facilities. It proposes distribution of health cards for all hotel employees.

The facilities at the Valiakunnu hospital are to be upgraded with the construction of an Out-patient block, establishment of a gynaecology department, modernisation of the operation theatre, improved laboratory facilities, a new X- ray unit and a Neethi medical store.

The budget promises free supply of medicines for diabetics in BPL families. A rehabilitation centre for the mentally challenged is another proposed initiative.

Presented by municipal vice-chairman C. Pradeep, the budget expects revenue of Rs.20.56 crore and expenditure of Rs.20.17 crore, with a surplus of Rs.38.94 lakh.

The budget was adopted by the 28-member municipal council with the five UDF members registering their opposition. The UDF members termed the budget as impractical and a repetition of the previous year’s proposals.

Municipal Chairman C.J. Rajeshkumar presided over the budget debate.