Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that he has got an assurance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Centre would not raise drug prices in an offshoot of the withdrawal of internal guidelines by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority regarding prices of 108 drugs.
In a memorandum submitted to Mr Modi, Mr Chandy raised 18 major issues, including pending projects. Apart from Kasturirangan and rubber, the state sought relaxation in CRZ rules and declaring Sabarimala as a national pilgrim centre and conferring national institute status for Regional Cancer Centre.
The 18-point memorandum also includes the demand for release of hostages under the captivity of Somalian pirates, inclusion of Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode under 100 smart city projects besides speeding up proposals for rail coach factory, viability gap funding for Vizhinjam and Kutanad and Idukki package.
At a press conference in Delhi, Mr Chandy said the Prime Minister had assured to look into these issues sympathetically. He was apprised of the crisis faced by rubber farmers.
“Last year during this period the price of rubber was Rs 240 and now it has crashed to Rs 120. We have raised MSP to Rs 5 but more steps are required to provide relief to rubber farmers,’’ he said and added that the Centre had been requested to increase import duty, reduce quantum of rubber import, price stabilization fund be released for rubber farmers and use of rubberized roads at the national level.
“The PM has assured to look into these demands after talking people concerned,’’ he added.
On the Kasturirangan report, the chief minister said the PM was urged to ensure early notification of MoEF.
"Last government had accepted our report and issued preliminary notification which was published in the gazette. Since the state has completed its homework including ground-level verification report and the NGT has taken a positive view of Kerala's efforts, Centre should not wait for other states for issuing the notification,’’ he added.
He urged the Centre to declare Sabarimala as National Pilgrim Centre and provide funds for further development of the area and providing.
Mr Chandy also met Environment Minister Prakash Javdekar, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and discussed issues concerning Kasturirangan report, Idukki and Kuttanad packages besides rubber farmers’ crisis.
Earlier, National Council for Teachers Education chairman Santosh Panda and UGC chairman Ved Praksh called on Mr Chandy at Kerala House. He took up with the UGC chairman the closure of MG University's 7 international off campus centres.
He urged the NCTE chairman to review the decision regarding closure of 10 BEd centres under Kerala University. The matter would come up at the next NCTE general council.