Special Correspondent

“The government is issuing new permits to set up breweries and distilleries”

Government’s decision to take the Palar issue to court questioned

CHENNAI: Attacking the State government’s policy on prohibition and education, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder S. Ramadoss on Thursday said that “the government seems to have as its priority selling of liquor and has left the private sector to sell education.”

Reacting to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s statement that the government would adopt a cautious approach on implementation of the uniform school education system, he said the delay was caused by pressure from a small but powerful lobby of private school owners.

Dr. Ramadoss said a number of expert committees right from the 1960s, had suggested that such a system would benefit students. He recalled Mr. Karunanidhi’s statement last year promising its implementation.

Announcing a three-pronged programme to be taken up by the PMK on prohibition, uniform school education system and inter-State river water disputes, he said meetings would be held in all districts to increase public awareness and bring out the government’s lapses.

“The only progress they have made on the issue of prohibition is to reduce the time of operation of TASMAC shops by an hour,” he said. The government was issuing new permits to set up breweries and distilleries, which showed that it was not serious about its earlier promise of tackling the liquor problem, “step-by-step.”

He also questioned the government’s decision to take the Palar issue to court, saying that a political solution should be found for the inter-State river waters dispute. “What has happened to the Cauvery and the Mullaperiyar disputes in spite of court rulings?”

“Sleight of hand”

He questioned the veracity of Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s presentation of figures for industrial development and employment during the budget session of the Assembly, and said that the government had indulged in “sleight of hand.”

“The government’s figures are not believable,” he said, and slammed Mr. Stalin for refusing to present a White Paper as demanded by the PMK.