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Padayatra boosted MDMK's image: Vaiko

By Our Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI, OCT. 17. MDMK general secretary Vaiko has said the month-long `padayatra' he and his cadres undertook throughout the State had created awareness on the need for linking peninsular rivers. But for his initiative, the proposal would not have been accorded priority in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), Mr. Vaiko told presspersons here today.

The financial support for linking Godavari and Krishna rivers, costing Rs. 15,000 crores, should be borne by the Centre. Linkage of Mahanadhi, Krishna and the Cauvery should be taken up subsequently. "The request of the MDMK, forwarded to the Prime Minister, following the `padayatra' has been included without changes in the CMP," he said.

The MDMK was acting with a `long-term perspective,' be it the initiative for linking of rivers or the fructification of the Sethusamudram project. The `well-organised padayatra' undertaken by 3,000 disciplined cadres, though apolitical, had enhanced the image of the party in political circles, besides creating public awareness.

He termed as a `farce' the State Government's announcements of sops in the forms of rescheduling of old loans repayment and issue of fresh loans to farmers. Enquiries with Agricultural Cooperative Banks revealed that the benefits did not reach the farmers, he said.

The party, he said, would organise a series of `non-political' conferences of farmers in the State.

Terming the recent conference at Palladam a success, he said similar conferences would be held at Villupuram, in the Cauvery delta region, Dharmapuri, and Kovilpatti. The conferences would address region-specific problems of farmers, he said, adding that emphasis would be on organic farming.

Mr. Vaiko was critical of `rampant depletion' of groundwater by the State Government for materialising the New Veeranam scheme.

Referring to the honour of `Golden Star of Honour and Dignity Award' bestowed on the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, by the Ukraine-based International Human Rights Defence Committee, he said the award meant `nothing' since the organisation was not recognised by the United Nations. The award episode was `funny' given the backdrop of increasing violence and crime against women in Tamil Nadu, he said.

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