Reversal of DMK schemes marks Jaya`s 100 days
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2011, 15:01
Chennai: Jayalalithaa's first 100 days in office after storming back to power in Tamil Nadu with a landslide mandate saw a mixed bag of unveiling of welfare measures and reversal of pet schemes of previous DMK regime, besides a crackdown on land grabbing.

The AIADMK supremo started her third innings as chief minister on May 16 by inking seven files to give effect to key electoral promises, including free 20 kg rice to family card holders.

In her first major policy decision, Jayalalithaa dumped the Rs 1,200-crore new Assembly-Secretariat, a pet project of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, citing administrative reasons and announced that she would function from the 17th century Fort St George, a move dubbed as political vendetta by DMK.

She also ordered a probe into alleged irregularities into the construction of the complex, inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March last year.

Later, she announced setting up of a multi-super speciality hospital and a new government medical college in the sprawling complex, putting at rest speculation on the fate of the incomplete structure.

Other pet schemes of DMK regime such as medical insurance for the poor, free colour television and housing were also scrapped by Jayalalithaa, though insurance and housing schemes have been replaced with new ones.

The first three months also saw Jayalalithaa government ordering a crackdown on land grabbing, fulfilling yet another poll promise. Jayalalithaa during the campaign had alleged that DMK men were behind land grabbings and vowed to restore the land to the rightful owners after coming to power.

Senior DMK leaders, including its regional satraps and former ministers Veerapandi S Arumugam, KN Nehru and NKKP Raja and confidants of Union Minister MK Alagiri, son of Karunanidhi, have been arrested as the government claimed to have restored Rs 419 crore worth of land to their owners.

Stung by the action targeting party functionaries, Karunanidhi said the spate of arrests reminded him of the Emergency days but asserted the DMK cannot be finished off by such action and would bounce back.

Police have received over 10,000 complaints about alleged land grabbings ever since special cells were set up in the districts to deal with such cases.

The government also reversed the controversial decision of DMK regime to shift the Tamil New Year to the month of Thai (January), a move resented by several Hindu groups besides Jayalalithaa herself in 2008.

Jayalalithaa not only reverted the New Year to the Tamil month of Chithirai (April) as had been traditionally celebrated but also charged Karunanidhi with hurting people's sentiments by his move which she described as 'useless'.

However, Jayalalithaa government faced embarrassment when it lost the legal battle over its move to defer the Uniform System of School Education with the Supreme Court directing it to implement the scheme from this year itself, ending uncertainty faced by 1.2 crore students.

The chief minister started implementation of her promised freebies such as free rice and four grams of gold for 'mangalsutra' for women getting married besides announcing that schemes like providing goat and milch animals and free laptops to students will be initiated in September.

A sum of Rs 8,900 crore has been allocated for the new schemes in the regular budget presented by her government.

She also took up the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and the assembly unanimously adopted a resolution piloted by her seeking imposition of economic sanctions on Colombo by India and immediate rehabilitation of internally displaced Tamils.

While blaming the DMK for leaving the state with Rs one lakh crore debt, she slammed the Congress-led UPA for not granting a special component plan of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.


First Published: Sunday, August 28, 2011, 12:59

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