Special Correspondent

Electric fans in all prisons, except the one at Puzhal

CHENNAI: The State Government plans to set up an open prison at Muthupattai village in Sivaganga district, I. Periasamy, Minister for Revenue and Prisons informed the Assembly on Monday.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for his departments, he said the cost of setting up the facility would be Rs.2.05 crore. The Minister announced that electric fans would be provided in all prisons, except the one at Puzhal. All prisoners would also get a cool drink in the morning.

Mr. Periasamy said that there was not enough furniture in the offices of most village administrative officers. In the first phase, work on providing furniture to 3,000 offices would be taken up and each village administrative office would be given Rs.10,000.

Deputy Tahsildars and Revenue inspectors would be given cell phones. The monthly cost worked out to Rs.225 per phone. There are 379 Deputy Tahsildars and 1120 Revenue inspectors in the State. Earlier participating in the debate, G.Hari (AIADMK) criticised the Government for providing only free colour televisions and not free cable connections. He wanted to know why the DMK opposed the Cable TV Bill that was introduced by the AIADMK when it was in power and alleged that the Government functioned to serve a family.

Intervening, Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veerasamy said that the powers to enact a law to take over cable TV operations did not rest with the State Government. Also, there were 27,000 cable TV operators in Tamil Nadu and many of them were AIADMK members. He read out a list of people who owned local cable TV networks and their relationship with AIADMK functionaries.

When the Minister named a local cable TV network and said that its owner was related to MLA S.M.Veluchamy, the MLA said that if this could be proved, he was prepared to resign. Mr. Veerasamy corrected himself and said that he should have stated that the owner was related to a former AIADMK Health Minister and not Mr.Veluchamy. Mr.Veerasamy said that SUN TV was a public limited company, which submitted its accounts every quarter. He wanted to know who the directors of Jaya TV were.

Global warming

V.A.T.Kaliyavarathan (PMK) wanted the Government to set up an experts committee to study the effects of climate change and global warming. He urged the Government to reign in hedge funds that were hiking up real estate prices.

V. Marimuthu (CPI-M) wanted a white paper on tsunami rehabilitation work carried out.

T. Ramasamy (CPI) said that Rs.2000 given for houses damaged in floods or other calamities was too little. He wanted it hiked to Rs.25,000.

M. Dhandapani (Congress) said that the Government should move the Coimbatore prison out of the city.

Selvam (VCK) wanted a white paper on how much of the announced schemes reached the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.