Chennai: Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder S. Ramadoss Sunday said more than 50 percent of the population is living below the poverty line (BPL) waiting for doles from the government, thanks to roaring liquor sales in the state.
Speaking to reporters here, he said: "Tamil Nadu`s population is around 6.24 crore. The state Chief Minister has said around 3.28 crore people, who don`t have proper clothing, are being given free saree/dhoti so that they can celebrate Pongal festival."
"If these people are not able to afford proper clothing then it means they are paupers," he said.
Citing that the turnover of liquor retail company, The Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Ltd (Tasmac), was Rs.12,831 crore last fiscal, he said: "It is the poor man`s money that is being swindled by Tasmac. The poor spend on liquor leaving nothing for other expenses, including clothing."
"The government should not create vote banks by making people poor and offering doles and freebies. The poor should be made to stand on their own by shutting down the liquor shops and imposing prohibition," he said.
He said that even backward states like Bihar have started registering faster growth in state gross domestic produce as compared to Tamil Nadu.
Welcoming the government`s plan to convert 2.1 million mud houses with thatched roofs into concrete houses, he cautioned it should not become another slum clearance board.
"The slum clearance board was started in 1967 by the DMK government with a mission to provide apartments for the slum dwellers in the city. Chennai is still a city of slums."