Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 2

THE Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, has said that the State Government will examine the Seed Bill 2004 and notify the Centre in case any of its provisions is found detrimental to the interests of farmers.

Replying to a submission in the State Assembly on Wednesday, Mr Chandy said from the look of it, the Bill did not intend to hit the farmer where it hurts. In any case, the Bill will be subjected to close scrutiny since it had raised apprehensions among the farming community about its implications.

Power theft: The Electricity Minister, Mr Aryadan Muhammed, told the House that strict action would be taken against companies found guilty of power pilferage.

Replying to questions, he said that a proposal for developing software to check power theft was actively being pursued. Raids in the Kanjikode industrial area had revealed instances of theft aggregating toRs 28 crore.

Answering a separate question, he said the Kerala State Electricity Board had not suffered any loss in revenue due to computerisation as was sought to be made out by certain quarters. The manual checking would continue alongside till such time the computerised system proved itself beyond reproach.

Tourist arrivals: The State witnessed a 17 per cent rise in foreign tourist arrivals till November this fiscal. But it was only two per cent in the case of domestic tourists.

The Tourism Minister, Mr K.C. Venugopal, said in reply to questions that the State expected revenue from the tourism sector to be around Rs 6,800 crore. Of this, Rs 6,030 crore had already been generated during the seven months ended November.

The devastating tsunami had resulted in 449 cancellations in hotels owned by the public sector Kerala State Tourism Development Corporation. This was expected to have led to a loss in revenue of Rs 69 lakh, the Minister said.

Doles to KSRTC: The Transport Minister, Mr N. Sakthan, told the House that Rs 40.25 crore had been sanctioned to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) during the last three years in infrastructural development assistance.

Services of 2,462 employees have been regularised in the last five months despite grave financial difficulty. Sufficient orders will be placed with the KSRTC bodybuilding units so as not to allow them to remain idle.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 3, 2005)
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