UDF liaison committee scheduled to meet on October 17

The Cabinet will take a decision on subsidising cooking gas (LPG) to consumers, including families above the poverty line (APL), only after the liaison committee of the ruling front considers the matter.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after a special meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday that the United Democratic Front’s liaison committee would meet on October 17. The Cabinet would consider the matter only after that.

For hostels

The Chief Minister said the Cabinet had, however, decided to provide subsidy for gas cylinders supplied to more than 100 hostels for tribal students and 18 model residential schools. They would get the same number of gas cylinders as used last year at subsidised rates.

The Cabinet sanctioned Rs.75 lakh for the subsidy. An allocation for hostels for the Scheduled Castes had not been made as the department had the needed funds.

Pilgrim amenities

Mr. Chandy said the Cabinet had decided to sanction special grants to panchayats and municipalities on the way to Sabarimala well in advance for providing basic amenities to pilgrims during the coming pilgrim season.

Erumeli panchayat would get Rs.20 lakh while Ranni-Perinad, Mavelikara, and Pandalam panchayats would be granted Rs.15 lakh each.

The allocation for Pazhavangadi, Ranni, Angadi and Naranamoozhi panchayats would be Rs.5 lakh each. Kulanada and Konni panchayats and Pathanamthitta municipality would get Rs.10 lakh each. Chengannur municipality and the Pala Kadappattur camp would be given Rs.15 lakh and Rs.5 lakh respectively.

He said that development economist and former head of the department of Thiruvananthapuram University College V.M. Sankaran would be appointed as one-man commission to study the problems of the Viswakarma community.

Members of the community had lost their traditional livelihoods owing to social and economic changes, mechanisation, globalisation, and liberalisation. Their leaders had sought help from the government. The commission would submit its recommendations in six months.

Replying to questions, the Chief Minister said the government was considering what could be done in the face of protests against dumping of city waste in quarries. The government could not ignore the protests. He said the government was examining the deficiencies in the implementation of the Kuttanad Package. More expensive schemes had been tied to the package without considering the availability of funds.