Special Correspondent

Row over applying ash on forehead of Periyar statue

  • "Those who indulged in this act could not be grateful Tamils"
  • Fleet strength of MTC to be increased to 4,000 in stages

    CHENNAI: Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi promised stern action against those who applied sacred ash on the forehead of the statue of Periyar at Dindigul. The miscreants had also placed a sandalwood garland and lit incense sticks.

    Earlier, during zero hour, K.Balabharathy (CPI-M) brought the incident to the notice of the Chief Minister and wanted him to direct the police to take stringent action. K.Arumugham (PMK), V.Sivapunniyam (CPI), D.Yasodha (Congress) were among those who demanded stern action.

    Mr.Karunanidhi said those who indulged in this act could not be grateful Tamils.

    Wheat stock position

    C.Govindasamy (CPI-M) brought to the notice of the House that wheat was perpetually in short supply in PDS shops and wanted to know if the situation would be rectified. Food Minister E.V.Velu said Tamil Nadu had received only about 3,000 tonnes when the need was 8,000 tonnes. He had written to the Centre and Mr.Karunanidhi had spoken to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. Mr.Velu expressed the hope that the Centre would soon release the quantity sought.

    Walkout by AIADMK

    Towards the end of the day's session, members of the AIADMK staged a walkout, protesting against Speaker R.Avudaiappan's "refusal to allow them to speak" on a Cooperative Societies amendment Bill.

    When Cooperatives Minister Ko. Si. Mani sought the consent of the House to consider the Bill, C.Shanmugavelu (AIADMK) proposed amendments to it. He wanted the elections to be held after enrolling new members. Mr. Mani said elections could only be held with existing members as the Madras High Court had ordered that special officers would have no right to enrol new members.

    The Bill, seeking to extend the term of office of special officers by six months, was to enable conduct of elections to Cooperative Societies.

    At this, former Minister for Cooperation V. Jayaraman rose to say something but the Speaker did not allow him.Soon, the AIADMK members walked out, saying they were denied a chance to speak. Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan condemned the walkout.

    The House passed the Bill extending the term of Special Officers and also deleting the provision authorising them to admit new members.

    During question hour, Transport Minister K.N.Nehru said the Government aimed to increase the fleet strength of Metropolitan Transport Corporation to 4,000 in stages. As a first step, 500 old buses would be replaced over the next 50 to 60 days.

    Mosquito menace

    Many members pointed to the mosquito menace and wanted the Government to take steps to control it. Health Minister K.K.S.S.R.Ramachandran said the instance of filariasis had come down from 88 per 10,000 population to four per 10,000 population.

    The health and Local Administration departments were taking action to control the mosquito menace.