Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Dec 16, 2004
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Kerala Govt to procure pepper, coffee
Pampa River Development Authority to be set up
Thiruvananthapuram , Dec. 15
THE Kerala Government has decided to go in for procurement of pepper and coffee from farmers who possess up to two hectares of these plantations. This is in addition to the procurement of arecanut that the Government had announced earlier.
The Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, told presspersons after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that market intervention by the Government was necessitated by complaints by the farmers that they were not getting fair price for their produce.
He informed that the prices at which the commodities were to be procured would be decided at a meeting of Ministers of Agriculture, Revenue and Co-operation and top officials of these departments on December 17.
The Cabinet also decided to form a Pampa River Development Authority to co-ordinate the activities of different departments for implementing the proposed Pampa Action Plan.
The Rs 318-crore project is to be implemented with central assistance and the State Government has already received the first instalment of Rs 18 crore from the Centre. The project aims at cleaning the Pampa River and protecting the surrounding environment.
The Government will constitute State and district-level monitoring committees to propose ways to prevent the recurring road accidents in the State. The Cabinet discussed the issue in detail with officials of the departments concerned and it was decided to expeditiously lay down the necessary laws in place after passing the Road Safety Bill, the Chief Minister said.
He said the committees would identify the accident-prone areas in all the 14 districts and place before the Cabinet the proposals for immediate rectification of the faults.
He said it was also decided to allow MLA funds to be utilised in the milk production sector. This was not allowed earlier, he added.
Referring to the various demands put forth by the boat owners in the State, Mr Chandy said that the Government would not be able to accept "impractical" demands such as reduction in sales tax on fuel.
At the same time, it would consider all the "practical" demands by the boat owners.
On the Government's move for restoring stamp duty to the original levels, he said the duty was reduced in the first place with the intention of fixing fair value for properties. This, it was thought, would help arrest duty evasion.
But, in reality, this had not happened and the Government had lost good amount of revenue. A decision on whether to restore the duty to the original levels or to enforce the fair value method would be taken shortly, the Chief Minister said.
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