Special Correspondent

Giving unfeasible promise: Jayalalithaa

CHENNAI: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday accused the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M. Karunanidhi of attempting to "mislead" people by promising to distribute 50 lakh acres of wasteland.

In a statement released here, Ms. Jayalalithaa said Mr. Karunanidhi attempted to hoodwink the people by giving an "unfeasible" promise to distribute 55 lakh acres of wasteland to landless farmers at the rate of two acres per family.

Only after her explanation, he had realised that such a vast extent of wasteland was not in Government's possession and most of the 50 lakh acres of wasteland was privately owned, she said.

However, he had further attempted to divert the people's attention by claiming that if elected to power, the DMK would strive to acquire the lands, develop them before distributing them to the landless farmers.

Most of the owners of the wasteland are marginal farmers and farm workers. The State Government implemented the integrated wasteland development project only to make them owners of fertile cultivable lands. Under the scheme, 4,21,666 acres of wasteland had been developed. The Government had released Rs.71.46 crore for the benefit of 1,17,536 farmers, she recalled.

Taking over of these lands from the marginal farmers and farm hands would amount to heaping a grave injustice on the poor and downtrodden sections, she said.