Veerapandi S. Arumugam "resorting to unethical practices"
Legislators to boycott Government functions in district They have submitted a letter to the Chief Minister
SALEM: Three Pattali Makkal Katchi legislators from Salem district on Friday charged Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Salem district secretary and State Agricultural Minister, Veerapandi S. Arumugam, with "resorting to unethical practices with the intention of distancing and isolating the PMK from the people."
The legislators said they would boycott Government functions in the district.
Alleging large-scale irregularities and malpractice in the selection of beneficiaries for the distribution of colour TVs, two-acre land and LPG stoves in the district, the MLAs V. Kaveri (Edapadi), A. Tamilarasu (Omalur) and P. Kannaiyan (Taramangalam) told reporters that neither Mr. Arumugam nor district officials maintained transparency while selecting the beneficiaries.
"They never have the courtesy to even inform us about the distribution of these schemes in our constituencies. A lower-rung official would despatch the invitations at the last minute," said Mr. Tamilarasu.
The MLAs claimed that when contacted, the Collector had expressed his "helplessness." "We smell something seriously wrong... " said Mr. Kaveri.
The MLAs alleged that the lists of beneficiaries did not conform to Government rules. "Favouritism is the prime criterion. Genuine people living below the poverty line are being neglected." They urged the Government to provide them with the lists of beneficiaries well in advance. The legislators said despite many attempts, they could not meet the Minister to sort out the issues. Hence they had submitted a letter to Chief Minister Karunanidhi.
They, however, said that their counterparts in other districts, including North Arcot, where there had been "some misunderstanding" among the coalition partners, had better rapport and coordination now.
Asked whether they had informed their party high command about their decision to "speak out," the MLAs said they had not done so.
PMK State president and Mettur MLA G. K. Mani did not attend the briefing. The party's deputy general secretary K. Shanmugam and State youth wing secretary R. Arul attended.