Chennai: The Jayalalithaa government in
Tamil Nadu on Friday scrapped another pet scheme of the
Karunanidhi regime by ending free colour TV distribution on
which over Rs 3,600 crore was spent in the past five years.
According to Jayalalithaa, for the nearly 1.60 crore
TV sets, people paid Rs 4,000 crore annually for cable
connection, which business is controlled by (Karunanidhi`s
grandnephews) Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran (who own Sumangali
Cable Vision) and (Karunanidhi`s grandson) Durai Dayanithi.
Thus people paid more for the cable connection,
Jayalalithaa, who has already announced that cable services in
the state will be nationalised, told the Assembly.
Replying to the debate on the motion to thank Governor
Surjit Singh Barnala for his address, she said the orders for
around 7 lakh colour TV sets to be procured under the sixth
phase of the scheme have been cancelled.
Over one lakh colour TV sets already procured in the
sixth phase would be distributed to orphanages and anganwadis
among others, she said.
Maintaining that the distribution of free colour TVs
to beneficiaries lacked proper planning, the AIADMK chief said
the sets were distributed not on the basis of applications
Instead, a DMK government-appointed committee had
overseen the process, "which resulted in people coming in
cars" to get a TV set that cost a little over Rs 2,100 per
unit, she said.
Asserting that her party was not against schemes aimed
at social welfare, she said she was however clear where the
line had to be drawn when it came to schemes and freebies
meant to garner votes.
"The DMK demeaned welfare schemes (by calling them) as
freebies. They only viewed them as tools to garner votes. It
is not charity but schemes being implemented on taxpayers`
money," she said.
After coming back to power with an overwhelming
mandate in the April 13 assembly polls, Jayalalithaa has
reversed several flagship programmes of the Karunanidhi
government, including free housing and medical insurance,
apart from announcing a judicial probe into alleged
irregularities in the construction of the assembly-cum-
Jayalalithaa, who had promised various freebies in her
party`s poll manifesto, said her government was committed
to make the state No 1 in every sphere in the coming years.
On her party`s freebies, such as providing 20 kg rice
free of cost, she claimed it was a welfare scheme "as it
assured food security."
Taking on the DMK on the law and order situation during
its 2006-11 rule in the state, she said Karunanidhi`s "biggest
achievement is to have slipped the state into a chaotic
"Policemen were assigned on unofficial appointment for
the protection of 135 members of the DMK family. Then where
will they have the time to maintain law and order or prevent
or detect crime. In some cases, traffic cops who were on VIP
duty for DMK leaders from 4 am to 11 pm have been posted back
for public duty," Jayalalithaa said.
The state police looked "pathetic," at the end of the
DMK regime as it was dogged by interference from DMK partymen,
she said, but assured they can discharge their duties without
any such interference in her regime.
Strict measures to maintain law and order are already in
place and police have been asked to act tough against
anti-socials, the chief minister said.
Jayalalithaa said that illegal sand mining will be dealt
with strongly and since she came to power, over 890 persons
have been booked for the said crime and 810 cases filed.
Taking a dig at DMK strongman and Union Minister M K
Alagiri who had predicted that AIADMK would cease to exist
after the Assembly elections, Jayalalithaa said, "his
whereabouts were now unknown."
Without naming Alagiri, she said, "Someone who had
predicted AIADMK will be destroyed at the end of the elections
and one who is afraid of replying in Parliament, his
whereabouts are unknown."
On the issue of the new Assembly-cum-secretariat complex,
she said there was no political bias for not functioning from
"Less than 49 per cent of the total area in Block A has
office space and the cost estimates have gone up against the
Rs 200 crore first envisaged in 2007 by way of a Government
Order," Jayalalithaa said.
The building was inaugurated in March 2010 (by Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh) even as it was incomplete, she added.
Further, while six departments including the CM`s office
had been shifted there during the DMK rule, the rest continued
to function from Fort St George, Jayalalithaa said.
"There are so many administrative constrains with two
buildings located about 2 km away from each other. So it is
purely for administrative reasons that we have chosen to work
from here," she said.
However, the new secretariat building will be put to
appropriate use, she said.