Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hails State as being in the forefront of India's development and the quest for social justice.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday declared open the world's first green legislature building, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly-Secretariat Complex, on the Omanthoorar Government Estate here, heralding the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Tamil Nadu's legislature.

Witnessed by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Assembly Speaker R. Avudaiappan, Madras High Court Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale and a host of other dignitaries, Dr. Singh pressed the button to unveil the plaque marking the inauguration of the complex to the strains of traditional Nagaswaram music.

The Prime Minister, in his 15-minute address, hailed the leadership of Mr. Karunanidhi and said Tamil Nadu had marched forward as a model of development in the country. “It has attained new heights in rural development and agrarian transformation. Tamil Nadu is the hub of India's dynamic automobile industry.”

The people of the State, Dr. Singh said, were the “proud inheritors of the rich legacy of the Dravidian movement and its quest for social justice and equity. No society can move forward without these ideals being put into practice.”

Praising legislators and the administrators of the State for having laid the foundation for the State's development, Dr. Singh said: “If Tamil Nadu is one of our foremost States, one of the most agriculturally, industrially and educationally developed States, it is because of the high quality of its political leadership and administrative machinery.”

Expressing the hope that the State's youth would show the way forward in doing things differently, he said, “We need more educated people, more efficient economy, more equitable society. We also need creative people, innovative people, people who don't just try to cross hurdles but know how to avoid them.”

Emphasising that all power should be regarded as societal trust and is to be used for public good, the Prime Minister said legislators were also watchdogs of public finances and they should ensure that there was no wasteful use of public money. Collectively, they needed to deal sternly with corruption and inefficiency in governance processes.

“On these new premises, we will witness new heights of legislative competence and legislative propriety, with discussions being guided by the spirit of tolerance, accommodation and deep and abiding concern for the well-being of the common people.”

He called upon members of the Tamil Nadu legislature and civil servants to “think big and think out of the box.”

Ms. Gandhi, who released a souvenir, said the State had been a model of “inclusive growth and development” in many respects. Right from the 1950s, the State had pioneered and shown the way in different ways — education, health, nutrition, family welfare, social security and rural development. “Through the decades, its political leadership has combined a profound commitment to social justice and empowerment of the weaker sections of society with a continuing emphasis on industrialisation, development and growth.”

Describing the complex as a “magnificent and resplendent” building, Ms. Gandhi said though many experts and others worked tirelessly for the completion of the complex, “the spirit behind is that of Mr. M. Karunanidhi.”

Commending the Chief Minister for his dedication, she referred to his visit to the project site on numerous occasions during the construction.

The Chief Minister said that apart from striving hard to uplift the downtrodden of the State through appropriate schemes and programmes, “We have never forgotten our lofty objective of elevating our mother tongue Tamil to the top position and celebrate its glory.”

He recalled that the government headed by the Justice Party, a precursor of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, was the first to be installed in the Madras Legislative Council and this was inaugurated by the Duke of Connaught in January 1921.

He handed over to Dr. Singh a copy of the book “Four Score & More: The History of Music Academy, Madras” authored by V. Sriram and Malathi Rangaswami.