Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan on Wednesday presented to the Assembly the first supplementary estimates for 2007-08 for Rs.2,198.45 crore.

Supplementary estimates are presented to cater to the expansion of existing schemes, factor in new announcements for which finances are required and/or to make provision for unforeseen expenditure.

For instance, road infrastructure has taken a battering because of the unseasonal rain in the past few years and repair works have to be carried out. “An additional provision of Rs.128.95 crore is required for repairs and restoration of roads and bridges damaged during monsoons in 2005, 2006 and 2007,” Mr. Anbazhagan said.

Similarly an additional provision of Rs.40 crore has been included for roads under the Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam.

Other schemes that needed funds include the loan assistance of Rs.300 crore to the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation to procure paddy and Rs.40.8 crore for upgrading infrastructure in Adi-Dravidar and Tribal Welfare High Schools and Higher Secondary schools.

‘No prohibition in State’

Responding to a demand from Ediroli Manian (PMK), Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veeraswami said it was not possible for the State to introduce prohibition. “If TASMAC shops [government retail outlets that sell liquor] are closed, then hooch will flow in the State like a river,” he said, adding everyone was aware of the consequences.

T. Velmurugan, PMK whip, wanted the State to take the lead and be an example to neighbouring States. Food Minister E.V. Velu pointed out that this would only lead to a situation where people from Tamil Nadu flock to the neighbouring States for liquor. Prohibition will only work if all States in the vicinity act in unison and with a sense of purpose, he said.