TAMIL NADU

More funds from Planning Commission sought

DISCUSSING PROGRESS: The Speaker, R. Avudaiyappan (fourth from right), addressing a meeting in Tirunelveli. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen  

Staff Reporter

To establish agro-based industries in all southern districts

TIRUNELVELI: Public representatives, industrialists and farmers from Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Kanyakumari and Virudhunagar districts have appealed to the members of the State Planning Commission to ensure hefty allocation in the 11th Five Year Plan, commencing April 1, 2007. This would help in establishing agro-based rural industries in the southern districts, "which have been hitherto ignored by the successive governments."

To understand the actual requirements of every district, members of the State Planning Commission are holding regional-level consultative meeting with people.

Inaugurating a meeting here on Friday, former civil servant and member of the State Planning Commission, Lakshmikanthan Bharathi, said, "The advice-seeking meeting of this kind is being organised for the first time in the whole of India." He appealed to the participants to prioritise the requirements of their districts so that it would be helpful for the Commission members.

The Speaker, R. Avudaiyappan, said that the Tamil Nadu Government was keen on grasping the actual requirements of people by sending the Commission members to various districts. The exercise would be completed before giving final shape to the 11th Plan.

Apart from giving top priority for realising the dream of having a special economic zone with hi-tech park at Nanguneri, sufficient funds should be made available for strengthening and deepening water bodies across the district.

The Radhapuram MLA, M. Appavu, said that the fishermen should be given 300 litres of kerosene every month at subsidised rate and allocation for the construction of free houses should be raised from the present Rs. 35,000 to 1.5 lakh or 2 lakh.

He also suggested that the rice component in the food-for-work programme could be converted into cash.

The Mayor of Tirunelveli Corporation, A.L. Subramanian, said that a big sum should be allocated for agro-based rural industries, which would help the farmers and the rural industrial sector. As the beedi industry was facing serious threat, alternative livelihood options for the families involved in beedi rolling should be evolved.

The Chairman of district panchayat, M. Graham Bell, said that support or procurement price for every farm produce should be fixed to make agriculture a profitable venture and an aromatic plant established in the district.

The member of Commission, G. Chidambaram, spoke on the approach of the next State Plan while another member, P. Jagadeesan, gave his concluding remarks.