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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2003

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Industry & Economy - Disinvestment

`State willing to grant tax relief to FACT'

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , Nov. 25

THE Chief Minister, Mr A.K. Antony, has said that the State Government is willing to offer sales tax concessions to Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) Ltd provided the Centre gave up its disinvestment plans in respect of the fertiliser major.

Briefing newspersons here after meeting with the Members of Parliament representing the State, Mr Antony said this was the consensus decision arrived at and would be communicated as such to the Centre.

The meeting also resolved to apply pressure on the Centre to give up its disinvestment plans. The State Government and MPs would use their combined resources to get the Centre to withdraw the directive on verifying and authenticating certificates of those seeking employment abroad. The MPs had promised to take up the matter with the Ministry of Human Resources Development and the Ministry of External Affairs.

The State Government would strive to set up a single-window to enable authentication of certificates without difficulty. A delegation of three Ministers would be deputed to Delhi soon for getting the necessary clearances. According to Mr Antony, he himself would run up to Delhi, if need be, once Parliament session gets under way.

The State Government intended to set up dormitories at the Travancore House campus in Delhi to provide cheap accommodation for those reaching the National Capital for appearing in examinations and interviews.

From now on, the District Collectors would be invited to all future conferences of the MPs. This was being done in view of complaints that schemes under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) were not being promptly attended to.

Instructions would be issued to collectors immediately to avoid delay in release of MPLADS funds, the Chief Minister said.

The meeting had also discussed several pending issues such as the State's plea for revising economic norms for release of ration articles for the below poverty line (BPL) families, provision of quality ration rice to the State, development of the State's railway infrastructure, upgradation of the Thiruvananthapruam Engineering College into an IIT and the crisis in the plantation and coir sectors.

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