Consortium of coop. banks planned: MVR

KANNUR, JUNE 16. The Cooperation and Ports Minister, Mr. M. V. Raghavan, today said that a proposal for setting up a consortium of cooperative banks to pool their resources for releasing financial assistance to educational institutions under the cooperative sector, including the Pariyaram medical college, was being considered by the Government.

``Preliminary discussions on the proposal for a consortium of primary, district and State co-operative banks for mobilising funds for medical and engineering colleges in the cooperative sector are under way,'' the Minister said while talking to reporters at the Parassinikkadavu Snake Park here.

The president of the Pappinissery Visha Chikitsa Society that runs the snake park, Mr. Raghavan, visited the park at noon.

Stating that the question of restoring the pre-takeover status of the Pariyaram medical college would be discussed by the State Cabinet, the Minister said that the Government could not be expected to mobilise the existing liabilities of the college to the tune of Rs. 153 crores, including Hudco loan and its interests.

``The college urgently needs Rs. 23 crores for completing the infrastructural works necessary for getting the Medical Council of India (MCI) recognition,'' he said.

He also said that funds to the tune of Rs. 150 crores were required for the development of the Ernakulam Cooperative Medical College. The Government would not go back upon its commitment to developing the two medical institutions, he added.

Reacting to the MCI's disclosure that the first batch of MBBS students at the Pariyaram medical college would not be given MCI recognition, Mr. Raghavan said that the State Cabinet had asked the Central Government for three months' time for meeting the MCI's conditions for granting recognition.

``It is the Government's obligation to ensure to salvage the students of the college from the present crisis,'' the Minister said.

Stating that the Pariyaram college stood as a testimony to the previous LDF Government's plan to destroy an institution, Mr. Raghavan said that at present there were only 137 in-patients while the total staff strength of the institution was over 800.

The Minister also said that steps would be taken for the development of ports at Vizhinjam and Azhikkal. The Government was exploring the possibility of mobilising funds either through private investments or as loans from financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank for the two projects.

He said that the Government would examine whether Government funds were misused for the proposed Parassinikadavu tourism project promoted by a CPI(M)-sponsored cooperative society.

On the future of the Snake Park which had been closed by the previous LDF Government, the Minister said that efforts were under way to overcome certain technical hurdles in the way of reviving the park.

The matter was now in the High Court, but the Forest Department had to take steps for withdrawing the `illegal' order for the takeover of the park, he said.

The Forest Department order was part of a CPI(M) conspiracy to `eliminate' it, he said adding that the move of the previous Government to takeover the park land was foiled by the court.