Special Correspondent

To be effective from this year

Relaxation of norms for BDS course

Land Reforms Act to be amended

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday decided to raise the retirement age of doctors in medical colleges from 55 to 60 years.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan told the media after the weekly Cabinet meeting that the decision would take effect from this year.

The relaxation of norms for the Scheduled Tribes for admissions to the MBBS course would be made applicable to the BDS course as well. An ordinance would be issued to change the rules in that regard.

The Cabinet sanctioned Rs.50 lakh for paying compensation for the properties damaged in the accident and explosion involving a gas tanker near Karunagapally recently. This would be in addition to the Rs.50 lakh provided by Indian Oil Corporation as compensation.

The Tranvancore Devaswom Board would be requested to provide Rs.5 lakh each as solatium to the dependents of those killed in the accidents on their way to Sabarimala on Tuesday.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the Land Reforms Act would be amended to address the problems faced by Karayma kudians (tenants) as suggested by the High Court. The court had held that the amendment made to the Act in 1999 was ultra virus of the Constitution. So, the Cabinet decided to have a fresh amendment to protect the interests of the tenants.

He said the Cabinet had approved a proposal to allow local self-governments to use funds earmarked as maintenance grant and development fund for 2009-10 and 2010-11 for road works this year itself. It also approved a revised estimate of Rs.56 crore for the bus terminal complex of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation at Thampanoor in Thiruvananthapuram. The Kerala State Transport Finance Development Corporation would be undertaking the work. Besides, the Cabinet sanctioned 31 new posts for the taluk hospital at Mavelikara and decided to increase the bed strength by 100.

Replying to questions about the attack on writer Paul Zacharia, the Chief Minister said he did not agree with Mr. Zacharia’s comments about communists. However, he had the right to expression as a citizen. That was not being denied.