A memorial for Karikalan, the Chola king who built the Grand Anicut (Kallanai) across the Cauvery, will be set up to honour his selfless service, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced here on Tuesday.

She was inaugurating a memorial for Pennycuick, the British engineer who constructed the Periyar dam in Idukki district of Kerala.

The Grand Anicut, which the Chola king built 2,000 years ago, is not only the oldest dam in the country but also an engineering marvel. The dam is beneficial to crores of people even today, she said.

Narrating the history of the Mullaperiyar dam and the struggle of the British engineer, Ms. Jayalalithaa announced that the new central bus stand under construction in Theni would be named after Col. Pennycuick.

One should have courage, mental stability and determination to succeed. If one possessed these qualities, success was certain. The Mullaiperiyar dam is an example of this, she said. “I had invited the engineer’s grandson W. Stuart Sampson to attend the function. He could not make it owing to unavoidable preoccupation.”

Reacting to DMK president M. Karunanidhi’s allegation that the Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari was poorly maintained, Ms. Jayalalithaa said it was the AIADMK Government that passed a resolution for declaring Thirukkural as a national scripture and also set up Thiruvalluvar University.

The foundation stone for the Thiruvalluvar statue was laid in the presence of the late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai on April 15, 1979. A committee was constituted to review the project during MGR’s tenure. A sum of Rs.1.28 crore was released for the project during her first tenure. Chemical coating on the statue was done in 2004 and 2008 and renovation work was being undertaken now.

She gave away the Thiruvalluvar Award to N. Murugan, Bharathiar Award to K. Ramamurthy, Pavendar Bharathidasan Award to S.N. Kandasamy, Thiru. Vi. Ka. Award to Prema Nandhakumar, K. A. P. Viswanatham Award to N. Rajagopalan, Anna Award to K. R. P. Manimozhian, Kamarajar Award to former MP Singaravadivel, Thanthai Periyar Award to K. Samarasam and Ambedkar Award to CPI State secretary D. Pandian. Each award comprised Rs.1 lakh, a gold medal and a certificate.

Pension orders were handed over to Tamil scholars.

Earlier, Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, PWD Secretary M. Sai Kumar, Ministers O. Paneerselvam, K.T. Rajendra Balaji, N.R. Sivapathy and K.V. Ramalingam spoke.

Farmers welcome CM’s announcement

Thanjavur Special Correspondent writes:

Farmers in Thanjavur district welcomed the announcement by Chief Minister.

P. R. Pandian, State council member of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam said that besides building and perpetuating the memory of Karikalan, the right tribute to him will be to protect the irrigation system he bestowed on us.