Kerala has submitted a 18-point memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Centre’s intervention to resolve various issues.
Issues including crisis faced by rubber growers were also raised by the State, a press release from the Chief Minister’s office today. ‘Last year, during this season, the price of rubber was Rs 240 per kilo, but now it fallen to Rs 120.
‘The intervention of the Centre was needed to resolve the issue,’ Oommen Chandy, who met the Prime Minister in Delhi yesterday, added. ‘It has been mentioned in the memorandum to increase the import duty of sheet rubber and rubber products from the current 8 per cent to 40 per cent, thereby helping the marginal and small farmers and small-scale rubber industries of the country and also to evolve an appropriate scheme for natural rubber price stabilization/income stabilization fund to support the small and marginal farmers.
‘It has also been mentioned that in order to arrest the price fall, import of rubber should be stopped with immediate effect.’ The case of Sabarimala’s development was also discussed with the Prime Minister.
The State urged the Centre to take steps to declare Sabarimala as a national pilgrim centre.
He also said that the Centre had extended all help to implement the Sabarimala Master Plan. In his meeting with the Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar, Mr Chandy urged the Centre to issue a final notification at the earliest regarding the implementation of the Kasturirangan Report.
In the report, 123 villages in Kerala were declared as ESA. The Union Ministry for Environment should consider the case for issuance of the final notification with the ESAs as demarcated by the Panchayat Level Verification Committee, he added. ‘Relaxation in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) was another important issue that was mentioned in the memorandum.
During the course of implementing the CRZ notification, fishermen, the traditional community living in the coastal areas of Kerala, are facing certain difficulties, which have resulted in wide public agony. ‘Therefore the Centre must bring in relaxation to the present CRZ,’ he said.
The meeting with Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani centred on the need for the committee of the Union Ministry to visit the land identified for IIT in Palakkad.
At Kerala House, the Chief Minister met UGC Chairman Prof Ved Prakash and the Chairman of NCTE Santosh Pandey. ‘With the UGC Chairman the Mr Chandy discussed the issue of closing down of the off-campus centres under the MG University.
He said on the basis of the Court order, if the centers were closed down this year, it would bring hardship to students who were in the middle of academic programmes in such centers. With the Chairman of NCTE, Mr Chandy discussed the court’s order to close down the 10 BEd Centers under the Kerala University. Over 1700 students were studying in those centres. These centers have proved its excellence by bagging many ranks in B.Ed exams.
‘The legal and technical aspects regarding this should be discussed in the next general council meeting of NCT and steps taken to prevent those institutions from closure,’ he opined. In his meeting with the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, he said the Kuttanad and Idukki Packages should be continued.
Kerala’s concern on the rising prices of 108 life-saving drugs was also taken up with the Prime Minister. He urged the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter. He also said he had invited the Prime Minister to be the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony of the National Games to be held in Kerala.
The Prime Minister had responded positively to the invitation. The President of India will attend the closing ceremony the invitation of which in the absence of the President was handed over to his office.
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