TN CM promises free land with concrete houses for the poor

The CM, while campaigning in Srivaikundam, also attacked DMK president M.K. Stalin, accusing him of “lying through his teeth to tarnish the reputation of the meticulous functioning of the AIADMK government”

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has said DMK president M.K. Stalin, who cannot highlight the achievements of the “violent DMK’s administration” between 2006 and 2011 as they had kept the State in utter darkness due to acute power shortages, is levelling baseless allegations against the AIADMK government in a bid to hoodwink the people and fetch their votes in the ensuing Assembly polls.

The CM also promised to give free house sites, with houses, to the poor on returning to power.

“Even though Mr. Stalin is lying through his teeth to tarnish the reputation of the meticulous functioning of the AIADMK government, the people of Tamil Nadu, who are now enjoying peaceful living, will never support the DMK,” Mr. Palaniswami said while electioneering at Srivaikundam in the district on Wednesday.

Recalling the acute power crisis that prevailed between 2006 and 2011, the Chief Minister said Tamil Nadu became a “power surplus State” under the rule of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa within 3 years after she returned to power in 2011.

“Moreover, our leader Jayalalithaa formed the Anti-Land Grabbing Cell in the Tamil Nadu Police to retrieve all the lands usurped by the DMK men. The people of Tamil Nadu will never forget and pardon the DMK for leaving them in utter darkness and also for its goondaism. If the DMK comes to power again, the State will plunge into darkness again and the people’s hard-earned properties will get usurped by the goondas of the DMK,” Mr. Palaniswami said, adding that the DMK men were indulging in atrocities of all sorts in hotels, beauty parlours and supermarkets even when they were not in power.

COVID-19 relief

Highlighting his government’s achievements, Mr. Palaniswami said the government had come to the rescue of the poor and the farmers during the flood, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic by giving financial assistance and free essential commodities for five months to feed the poor. When he referred to ₹1,000 as ‘Pongal gift 2020’, ₹1,000 as COVID-19 relief and ₹2,500 as ‘Pongal gift 2021’, the crowd welcomed it with a wild cheer. “We have given ₹4,500 to every family in the past one year even though the government is fighting the pandemic,” Mr. Palaniswami said.

He also highlighted the grievances redressal system put in place by his government. “After introducing the Chief Minister’s Special Grievance Redressal System in every district, the government received 9.77 lakh grievances of which 5.25 lakh petitions have been resolved. People have accepted the ‘1100 Grievance Redressal System’ introduced by the Tamil Nadu Government as it has simplified the grievances redressal system, he said.

“So, Mr. Stalin, who did nothing when he was the Minister for Local Administration and then the Deputy Chief Minister, is now collecting petitions from the public during his stage-managed programmes in a bid to bamboozle the people,” Mr. Palaniswami said.

Renovation of water bodies

The Chief Minister, after highlighting the positive outcome of the ‘kudimaramathu’ scheme introduced to renovate the water bodies, said 14,000 lakes under the Public Works Department and 26,000 water bodies under the control of local bodies had been given a new lease of life to augment water for irrigation while allowing the farmers to take the silt from these water bodies to nourish their fields. “We will construct a few hundred check-dams including the one beyond Srivaikundam check-dam when we return to power after the ensuing Assembly polls,” Mr. Palaniswami said.

Speaking about the 7.5 % horizontal reservation for government students in medical colleges that his government introduced, he said: “435 students have entered medicine and dental programmes this year, thanks to this reservation.”

While addressing the women at Tiruchendur, Mr. Palaniswami said the government, which had given 8-gram gold and ₹50,000 as marriage assistance to 99,000 women this year, would give it to 1 more lakh women before April.

On the credit linkage to women self-help groups, he said the government, which had given ₹82,000 crore as a revolving fund had given ₹12,000 crore in loans for SHGs even during the pandemic.

In an apparent reference to Mr. Stalin’s charge against the State government giving advertisements in newspapers highlighting its achievements, Mr. Palaniswami said: “Apart from the people, you (Mr. Stalin) should also understand about our achievements as you don’t attend the Assembly sessions. So, go through these advertisements to realise what we’ve accomplished”.

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