Pension plan for coconut growers

Special Correspondent

Plan to extend crop insurance

Vegetable cultivation in 500 schools

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government plans to implement a pension scheme for coconut growers beginning November this year, Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran told the Assembly on Monday.

Responding to a calling motion moved by K.P. Mohanan (JD-S), the Minister said the government was also contemplating extension of the crop insurance cover, currently available for paddy, to other crops as well.

Steps would also be taken to take up vegetable cultivation on a massive scale involving National Service Scheme (NSS) units in 500 schools across the State. The government would supply 25 lakh saplings of various vegetables to the schoolchildren.

Mr. Ratnakaran said the government would also take steps to extend the ‘ 100 vegetable panchayat' to more panchayats.

Vacancies in the department would be filled and efforts would be made to give awards to farmers in a decentralised manner.

A meeting of experts from the Kerala Agricultural University and various other bodies and MLAs would be convened in April to discuss the question of strengthening the activities of the department, he said.

MVIP commissioning

Responding to a calling attention motion moved by Mons Joseph (KC-J), Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said that a meeting of MLAs whose constituencies come under the Muvattupuzha Valley Irrigation Project (MVIP) would be convened this week to constitute a project monitoring cell to ensure completion of the project by early next year.

The government had done much to speed up work on the project, but the negative attitude of contractors was proving to be a major obstacle to the completion of ongoing work.

While work on the main canal had been almost completed, that on the branch canals was remaining hit on account of various bottlenecks including the attitude of the contractors, Mr. Premachandran said.