It was the Dravidian movement that enabled poor rural students to achieve great laurels through higher education, which once remained a distant dream for them, said Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam.

Inaugurating and laying foundation stones for new buildings for the Salem Periyar University and its constituent college at Mettur at a cost of Rs. 15.57 crore here on Friday, the Minister said that it was Periyar who had made it possible for the poor to study in colleges and universities.

“Following his footsteps is Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi,” he said and added that he had been carrying out many development schemes for the downtrodden.

“As in the field of education, Tamil Nadu had been making vast strides in the field of agriculture too.

“On the industrial side also the State was witnessing all round development.

“Like the ideals of Periyar, the University in his name is standing high with funds from the State government,” he pointed out.

He asked the students to make use of the infrastructure and bring laurels to the home State and the institution.

He further added that many development schemes were being undertaken in Salem district.

This could be made possible with the liberal assistance sanctioned by the Chief Minister, he said.

The present government alone could ensure dignity and welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu.

The Minister also named avenues and buildings on the University premises after Tamil lands and personalities of literature and history.

University Vice Chancellor M. Thangaraju presided over the function in which District Revenue Officer V. Kalai Arasi, Registrar S Gunaseakran, Director, Periyar Institute of Distance Education K. Gunaseakaran, Controller of Examinations P. Jayakumar and others officials took part in the programme.

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