: The high power committee of the United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked the Central government to take steps to get the National Agriculture Cooperative Federation (Nafed) to resume copra procurement urgently in order to save coconut farmers from a crisis.

In a resolution passed at the committee meeting here on Thursday, the UDF wanted the Centre to withdraw the 15 per cent ceiling on reimbursement of loss incurred for procuring copra.

The Nafed had announced its decision to suspend its procurement operation following the Centre’s decision to bring down the ceiling from 30 per cent to 15 per cent.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, UDF convener P.P. Thankachan said the Nafed’s decision had led to a crash in prices of copra and coconut oil. The meeting also reviewed the drought relief measures undertaken by the State government and decided to focus on certain areas, particularly drinking water supply.

The District Collectors had been allocated funds to take up drought relief work and the government had been asked to ensure that necessary funds were made available as per requirement.

The UDF committee wanted the State government to take steps to repair check dams, carry out de-siltation of ponds to improve their storage capacity, work on extension of pipelines, digging bore wells, and rainwater harvesting.

The UDF committee reviewed the distribution of pattayams in Idukki, Wayanad, and other parts of the State.

While expressing general satisfaction at its progress, it wanted the State government to present its opposition to the Madhav Gadgil report. The meeting decided to hold a full day’s discussion on the report of its sub-committee on the Nelliampathy issue.

Mr. Thankachan said it had been decided to celebrate the second anniversary of the UDF government from May 18, covering all Assembly constituencies.

He said bilateral discussions would be held between the Congress and some of the constituents to sort out small irritants over the seat-sharing process. The discussions will be held on March 12 and 19. The Chief Minister informed the meeting about the outcome of his Delhi visit, during which period he met as many as 21 Union Ministers, with the main focus on railway development.

He expected a positive response from the Union Railway Minister to Kerala’s demands when he replied to the debate on the Railway Budget.

  • Meet reviews drought-relief measures

  • Discussion planned on Nelliampathy issue