Special Correspondent

"Reversal of previous Government's decision will not be a good precedent"

  • Government to consider Kalimuthu's plea for rewards
  • Integrated coastal zone management plan being prepared
  • Pilot scheme to be taken up to ensure hassle-free movement of elephants in Eastern and Western Ghats
  • Government to consider Kalimuthu's plea for rewards
  • Integrated coastal zone management plan being prepared
  • Pilot scheme to be taken up to ensure hassle-free movement of elephants in Eastern and Western Ghats

    CHENNAI: Minister for Electricity Arcot N. Veerasamy on Thursday ruled out the possibility of the Government reviewing the decision of the previous All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Government to reward the Special Task Force personnel for eliminating forest brigand Veerappan and his associates.

    At the end of the debate on two demands for grants, Pattali Makkal Katchi leader T. Velmurugan wanted to know if the Government would review the slew of rewards announced by the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to the STF personnel in 2004 and take necessary action to withdraw them on the ground of "irregularities."

    Intervening, Mr. Veerasamy said reversal of the previous Government's decision on this count would not be a good precedent.

    He said that though the previous AIADMK Government had given cash awards and housing plots to so many STF personnel, P. Kalimuthu, who was the head of the force for over four years, had been left out. The DMK Government would consider Mr. Kalimuthu's plea for extending the rewards to him, the Minister said.

    Coastal vulnerability maps

    The State Government has decided to prepare coastal vulnerability maps at a cost of Rs. 2 crore, Minister for Forests N. Selvaraj said.

    Moving the demand for grants for the Environment and Forests Department, he said the setback lines in the coastal areas would be drawn based on the vulnerability of the coast to natural and manmade hazards.

    To achieve economic prosperity without sacrificing ecological security, the "integrated coastal zone management plan is being prepared at a cost of Rs. 2.50 crore," he said.

    The Government had sanctioned Rs. 1 crore for capacity building and awareness creation on these two programmes, he said.

    Among the projects to be taken up during the current financial year is creation of bio-remediation of selected water bodies in Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanyakumari districts at a total cost of Rs. 4 crore.

    Bio-diesel production

    The Centre had sanctioned Rs.10.50 crore for raising 350 lakh jatropha seedlings through 26 forest development agencies for bio-diesel production.

    The Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project Phase-II assisted by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation to cover 250 interface villages including 40 tribal villages to develop 45,250 hectares of degraded forests would be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 101.42 crore.

    Solar-powered fence

    Installing 137.5-km-long solar-powered fence at a cost of Rs. 2.20 crore to prevent wild animals from destroying crops, raising shelterbelts over 2,000 hectares and mangrove plantations over 700 acres in the coastal districts at a cost of Rs. 10.73 crore and evolving plans to control forest fire at a cost of Rs. 4.85 crore are among the new projects.

    Projects for protection of forests

    The Government would also implement 24 projects at a total cost of Rs. 8.86 crore for protection of forests, development of roads and improvement of zoos, he said, adding that a pilot scheme would be taken up to ensure hassle-free movement of elephants in the Eastern and Western Ghats by acquiring private lands.

    The monthly wage of 3,650 casual labourers in the social forestry sector had been hiked to Rs. 2,126 from Rs. 817.50, Mr. Selvaraj said.

    More In: TAMIL NADU | NATIONAL