Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has said that new welfare schemes will be announced during the next tenure. He was talking to presspersons at Vallambadugai, near Chidambaram, where he inspected a concrete house built under the Kalaignar Housing Scheme, on Sunday.

Travelling by road from Chennai, he stayed on Annamalai University campus on Saturday night and resumed his journey to Thiruvarur on Sunday. En route, he handed over the concrete house to a beneficiary, Ganesan.

Mr. Ganesan thanked the Chief Minister for converting his hut into a concrete house. He also thanked officials for their support.

Collector P. Seetharaman apprised the Chief Minister of the arrangements made for the supply of sand and bricks to the beneficiaries for the construction of 26,119 concrete houses in the district.

Mr. Karunanidhi said that the housing scheme was progressing well and people were happy about it. It was proposed to construct a total of 21 lakh concrete houses over a period of six years. To start with, three lakh units would come up this year.

Asked whether any official function would be organised for formally handing over the houses, the Chief Minister replied in the negative, saying that the houses would be made over to the beneficiaries as and when completed.

To another question on status of the alliance with the Congress, Mr. Karunanidhi said that United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi herself had expressed happiness over the existing alliance.

Mr. Karunanidhi declined to comment on the possibility of taking any other political party on board.

Responding to another question, he said that as there were problems in naming the newly built railway flyover at Chidambaram, the issue would be taken up later.

Asked whether higher education would be given free to all, he said that such a facility was already extended to certain sections of society. Regarding the desilting of the Veeranam tank, Mr. Karunanidhi said that as the strengthening of the Kollidam banks was now under progress, the soil to be removed from the Veeranam tank would be used for the purpose.

Law Minister Durai Murugan, Food Minister E.V. Velu, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy, Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam, MLA D. Ravikumar, Collector P. Seetharaman, District Revenue Officer S. Natarajan accompanied the Chief Minister.

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