Revival of natural rubber sector holds the top priority in his areas of focus, Thomas Chazhikadan, the newly elected Parliament member from Kottayam, has said.
Addressing mediapersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Chazhikadan said the sector had been going through an unprecedented crisis even as the Rubber Production Incentive Scheme (RPIS), a revolutionary initiative of former Finance Minister K.M. Mani to ensure ₹150 per kg for farmers, remained defunct.
“The minimum price should be raised to ₹200 for the sector to sustain, which requires urgent intervention of both the Central and State governments. Moreover, the functioning of the Rubber Board, which does not even have a full-time chairman, is also in crisis. Similarly, there are compounding issues like the non-release of subsidies and uncontrolled import of rubber,” he said.
Announcing the continuation of the development projects initiated by Jose K. Mani during his two terms, Mr. Chazhikadan declared his plans to elevate the Government Medical College in Kottayam to international standards. Further, projects will be initiated to tap the tourism potential of Kumarakom and other centres in the district. “Kumarakom, which is one of the most important international tourism centres in the country, has still not received the attention it deserves. I would also seek the possibilities of establishing a tourism circuit connecting various pilgrimage centres including Sabarimala, Kadappattoor, Vaikom, Malliyoor, Bharanangam, Mannanam and Kanjiramattom. Backwaters and high range tourism will also be given prominence. A detailed project in this regard would be submitted to the Centre,” he said.
Another key area of focus will be the development of the railway network in the district.
“The track-doubling work between Kuruppanthara and Chingavanam will be expedited. Alongside, work of the railway overbridges at Thellakom, Manjoor and Mulanthuruthi will be completed in a time-bound manner,” he said.