Chennai: Reversing the DMK regime`s pet
projects, the Jayalalithaa Government in Tamil Nadu on Friday
scrapped housing and insurance schemes named after M
Karunanidhi and announced a probe into alleged irregularities
in the construction of new assembly-cum-secretariat complex.
Apparently targeting the Maran brothers, who own a
media empire, the government also said it would nationalise
the multi-crore rupees cable TV business, over which they have
near monopoly, and revive state-run Arasu Cable TV Corporation
to manage the industry.
The announcements came in Governor SS Barnala`s
customary address to the new Assembly on a day when the DMK
patriarch celebrated his 88th birthday albeit on a low-key
with his daughter Kanimozhi in jail in the 2G scam case and
the party still smarting under the assembly poll rout.
Outlining policies of the new government, Barnala said
an inquiry commission headed by a former high court judge will
probe allegations of "excess and wasteful expenditure and
deficiency in the standards of new Secretariat building"
besides `inordinate` delay. The new complex is being built at
a cost of Rs 1,000 crore.
The government would continue to function from the
17th Century Fort St George, he said, adding construction
activties at the new complex would be stopped to facilitate
Putting up a brave face, DMK Legislature Party Leader
MK Stalin said the party was prepared to face the inquiry.
As opposition leader, Jayalalithaa had criticised the
aesthetics of the complex, inaugurated by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh last year, calling it a "circus tent" and
vowed not to step into it.
Citing "overwhelming demand" from public for revival
of Arasu Cable TV Corporation, Barnala said the government
would do so "in public interest" and nationalise the cable TV
operations without affecting local cable operators, as assured
in AIADMK`s poll manifesto.
The move is apparently directed at breaking the
monopoly of Maran brothers - Union Minister Dayanidhi and his
brother Kalanidhi - who own the Sun TV network and run the
cable TV distribution business through Sumangali Cable Vision.
The Arasu Cable TV Corporation was set up by the
Karunanidhi Government in July 2008 after the Marans fell out
of favour with the DMK patriarch`s family but it remained
dormant after the two sides patched up later.
Without naming the Kalaignar Health Insurance Scheme,
the government said it was being ``terminated`` since it was
not comprehensive and a new scheme would be put in place.
Kalaignar Housing Scheme, envisaging free
concrete-roof houses to replace three lakh huts, was also
being done away with due to `shortcomings`. It would be
replaced with `Solar Powered Green House Scheme` for rural
The Governor also announced implementation of a scheme
to provide free fans, mixers and grinders from September 15
next, the birth anniversary of late chief minister CN
Annadurai, fulfilling another poll promise of AIADMK.