The Congress on Thursday made a strong case in the Assembly for starting Navodaya schools in the State, saying Tamil Nadu was the only State in the country that had not utilised the scheme aimed at providing quality education to students in rural areas.

Participating in the debate on Governor's address, Congress whip Peter Alphonse said even the West Bengal government, which opposed the Navodaya school system, had launched it. “Tamil Nadu can launch 31 schools and the Centre will release Rs. 20 crore to each school. Moreover, each school will get Rs 2.5 crore per year. It is an excellent school system that will provide quality education and hostel to rural students,” he said.

Mr. Alphonse said the State government should constitute a committee to study the concept of Navodaya schools and the committee could visit the neighbouring Puducherry to see for itself the functioning of the schools.

PMK leader G.K. Mani said the government should make five revolutionary announcements, including total prohibition and neighbourhood schools following real common syllabus, in the interim budget in February.

He also wanted reservation for Dalit Christians and Vanniyars who had converted to Christianity.