Special Correspondent

Aim is self-sufficiency in milk; commission of ration dealers to be increased

Hi-tech dairy farm to be set up at Valiathura in Thiruvananthapuram

Project submitted to Centre to build a dry yard for storing paddy in Kuttanad

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran announced in the Assembly on Tuesday that 100 new milk cooperatives would be formed in the State shortly.

Replying to the demands for grants for Food, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, the Minister said this was part of the plan to make the State self-sufficient in milk.

The State would also achieve self-sufficiency in eggs and meat as the scope for increasing production was good.

The Minister said the government had plans to set up a new cattle feed factory in Malappuram district. The capacity of cattle feed units under Milma would be increased by 500 metric tonnes. A hi-tech dairy farm would be set up at Valiathura in Thiruvananthapuram district in addition to the two farms proposed earlier.

The government, he said, decided to increase the commission of ration dealers. The steps for this will be completed shortly.

Mr. Divakaran said that price rise in Kerala was only 3.7 per cent last year compared to the national average of 6.5 per cent. The State Civil Supplies Corporation had been supplying 23 essential commodities at the same price for the past 23 months. Government agencies were willing to supply rice at Rs.13.50 to Rs.14 a kg.

Problems in supply had arisen because failure of the Central government to procure food grains as levy. Besides, the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act were relaxed, allowing monopolies to procure rice in large quantities.

No BPL display

He said that the government had received no directive from the Centre to display boards in front of BPL families showing their status. Such directives, if issued, would be opposed.

Refuting Opposition criticism, the Minister said the payments due to the farmers for paddy procured by them had been cleared. If any farmer was yet to receive the payment, they would get it in a few days.

The government had submitted a project to the Centre to build a dry yard for storing paddy in Kuttanad at a cost of Rs.22 crore.

The government had plans to start new mobile Maveli stores and petrol pumps. A laboratory for checking the quality of gold had been set up in Kochi.

After the Minister’s reply, the House passed the demands for grants totalling Rs.276 crore.