Jayalalithaa inaugurates the scheme through video conference from Chennai
The much-awaited Rs.1,928-crore Hogenakkal Water Supply and Fluoride Mitigation Scheme for Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts turned into a reality on Wednesday with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa inaugurating it through video conference from Chennai.
Accusing the DMK of delaying the project while in power, Ms. Jayalalithaa said it was the AIADMK government that gave the much-required impetus.
Tracing the history of the scheme, she said it was initiated by late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran in 1986 at a cost of Rs.120 crore. The AIADMK government made an effort to revive the project in 1994, at a revised estimate of Rs.350 crore. But, funds constraint hampered the effort, she said.
During the second tenure of the AIADMK government (2001-2006), efforts were made to revive the project and a fresh proposal was sent to the Central government on August 18, 2005, Ms. Jayalalithaa pointed out.
When the Bharathiya Janata Party in Karnataka opposed the scheme because of River Cauvery being the water source, she called for an agitation on March 26, 2008, Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled.
Subsequently, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution on March 27 and April 1, 2008, seeking the Centre’s support for implementing the scheme.
Ms. Jayalalithaa accused the then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi of having put the project in abeyance without the knowledge of the Assembly on April 5, 2008, waiting for the Karnataka elections to get over. “When I wanted a discussion on this on April 8, 2008, the Speaker refused permission for it”, she added. “On the very same day, I had asked for the resignation of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for not having the will to get the project implemented.”
Ms. Jayalalithaa said that when she returned to power in 2011, she found that the scheme, which should have progressed to at least 50 per cent, was lagging behind with just 18 per cent of the works having been completed.
“We then stepped up the pace to turn the much-awaited scheme into a reality. It will now benefit 33 lakh people in the two districts who have been enduring the impact of fluoride in groundwater for three decades,” she said.
Ms. Jayalalithaa refuted former Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s charges during his recent speech at Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri that the AIADMK delayed the scheme.
Referring to Mr. Stalin’s recent claim that had the DMK been in power, he would have completed the project in two months, Ms. Jayalalithaa wondered how it would have been possible when he was not able to do it in two years while in power.