Supply of Drinking Water and Other Issues: State to Seek Sanction of Election Commission
In the backdrop of the prevailing election model code of conduct, the Cabinet has decided to seek sanction of the Election Commission for the supply of drinking water in areas experiencing drinking water scarcity in the State. The government has already taken the required decisions and the fund required for the distribution of drinking water.
The distribution of drinking water in Kollam district was denied permission by the Election Commission after the same was commenced in the district. Citing the Election Commission's guidelines, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that drinking water could be supplied even when the code of conduct is in force but the areas identified for the purpose should be declared as drought-prone. But such a declaration is based on certain conditions, which at present are not fully in favour of Kerala, the chief minister added.
Further, the chief minister said that stand of the Election Commission at this point of time when drinking water scarcity is at its peak could not be justified. Chief Secretary has taken up the issue with the Election Commission of India and was followed up by a letter to the Commission on the situation.
The Cabinet has also decided to seek sanction of the Election Commission on three other issues.
Sanction has been sought for the purchase of raw materials for running the cashew factories under the Cashew Development Corporation for which Rs 30 crore was sanctioned for the same earlier. Distribution of free ration to the workers of cashew factories that remain closed also needs sanction.
The second issue for which sanction has been sought was for the publication of an advertisement, inviting the attention of beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Health Insurance Project to renew their names. This is a scheme that has been going on for the past seven years and renewal of names is done every year in the month of April.
Sanction has also been sought for the distribution of assistance through the Karunya Benevolent Scheme. This amount is given as cheque to an institution and not to any individual. Since there are cases of ongoing treatments, which incur additional expense, they will not come under the purview of the election model code of conduct. Sanction for the release of funds allotted, prior to the coming into force of the election model code of conduct will also be sought from the Commission.
CM said that the Election Commission would take a positive approach on the demands of the State. He also added that tomorrow’s Cabinet would discuss alternative ways if the Election Commission continues to deny the required sanctions.