Special Correspondent

Kalimuthu expunges the remarks made by a party MLA

The Speaker does not want references unrelated to Governor's addressDMK members also point out non-removal of a similar remark of a ruling party MLACentre has not amended Calamity Fund, says Jayalalithaa State Government to soon announce a relief package for flood-hit farmers

CHENNAI: Led by their deputy leader, members of the DMK walked out of the Assembly protesting against the Speaker's decision to expunge certain remarks made by party MLA J. Anbazhagan during the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor's address.

The trouble started when Mr. Anbazhagan referred to certain measures of the State Government during the past four years. Speaker K. Kalimuthu, who expunged those remarks, asked the member to adhere to the Assembly Rules.

Intervening, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said even DMK activists had commended the unbiased approach of the Government in extending assistance to people in the flood-hit areas. Law Minister D. Jayakumar offered statistical data to prove the point.

The Speaker again expunged certain remarks of Mr. Anbazhagan. He made it clear that he would not permit the DMK member to continue if he made references that were not related to the Governor's address. He also asked Kovai Thangam (Congress) to speak on the motion. Ms. Jayalalithaa requested the Speaker to allow the DMK member to continue as this could be his last sitting term. She also said in a democratic country people had the right to express their respective views. The DMK MLAs also could enjoy the luxury of daydreaming, she added.

Even as the Speaker expunged a remark made by Mr. Anbazhagan, the Chief Minister referred to the point and asserted that nobody could reverse the wheel of history. Recalling her electoral defeat at Bargur, the Chief Minister said she was able to return to power, smashing all the obstacles.

Mr. Anbazhagan raised questions on the State Government's relief and rehabilitation measures in the tsunami-hit areas. Ms. Jayalalithaa said the Central Government had released only Rs.812 crore for the tsunami relief while the State Government had earmarked Rs. 324 crore higher than that amount.

Apart from this, the Government had also received assistance from international agencies as loan, she said, adding that the funds were being used for rehabilitation measures which were under different stages of implementation.

As the Speaker expunged the concluding remark made by Mr. Anbazhagan, Mr. Durai Murugan said the DMK members would stage a walkout protesting against the non-removal of a similar remark of a ruling party MLA.

Responding to K. Arumugam of the PMK, the Chief Minister said the Centre had not issued any order to amend the guidelines of the National Calamity and Contingency Fund to enhance the compensation for crop loss as requested by the State Government. This had come in the way of providing relief to the farmers in the flood-hit areas. However, the State Government would soon announce a relief package for the farmers in the affected areas, she added.

Referring to the monitoring panels set up at the district, panchayat and ward levels in the flood-hit areas, she said there was no need for forming all-party watchdog committees.