TAMIL NADU

Free TV sets distribution begins

PROMISE KEPT: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi handing over a colour television set to a beneficiary at a samathuvapuram near Padapai in Kancheepuram district on Friday. Photo: M. Vedhan

PROMISE KEPT: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi handing over a colour television set to a beneficiary at a samathuvapuram near Padapai in Kancheepuram district on Friday. Photo: M. Vedhan  

R.K.Radhakrishnan

25,245 television sets will be distributed across the State: Karunanidhi

CHENNAI: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Friday launched the free colour televisions for the poor scheme near here and asserted that the DMK was committed to fulfilling all election promises.

Speaking after the inauguration at the Periyar Memorial Samathuvapuram (an attempt at social engineering where people of all religions and castes selected from nearby villages live in a community) at Thundal Kazhani, Karasangal (Kancheepuram district), Mr. Karunanidhi said that as many as 25,245 television sets would be distributed across the State beginning on Friday.

This was only the first phase and would get over in a few days. Just as all guests at a wedding do not feast at the same time, the distribution of television sets could not be done in one go.

This year, the State Government provided Rs.750 crore in the budget for distributing television sets to the poor.

Making some back-of-the-envelope calculation, he said Rs. 9 crore provided now had fetched about 30,000 television sets. As many as 25 lakh sets could be purchased with the Rs.750 crore allotted for the current year. Similar allocations would be made in budgets in the coming years too. This would ensure that no home was left without a television set. "Even if one crore people need to be given television sets, we will give them," he said.

Mr. Karunanidhi said the main opposition party and a section of the media were spreading half-truths about the scheme and other schemes of the DMK Government. The ruling party should keenly watch the utterances of the Opposition, he said, but welcomed constructive criticism from allies. The inauguration of the television scheme coincided with former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai's birthday. Similarly all great leaders of the past were being remembered in a befitting manner. On Periyar's birth anniversary, the two-acre land for landless farmers scheme would be launched in Tiruvallur. A law was enacted to declare former Chief Minister Kamaraj's birth anniversary as Educational Development day, he said.

"We did not merely issue a G.O [Government Order] on this. Because it would end up as `GO' [if a different government came to power], we enacted a law," he said and added that if only a G.O. had to be issued, it would have been easy to ignore it when a different government took office.

On the free land scheme, he said that though the promise was to give two acres, he was certain that even if the land was less than two acres by "a few inches," people would not object. The intention was to develop and distribute all the wasteland to the poor, landless farmers. It was with this in mind that a Minister was sent to West Bengal to study land reforms there.

Union Information Technology Minister, Dayanidhi Maran and Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin said people would thank the DMK government in a befitting manner in the upcoming local body polls. Representatives of allied parties praised the Government for implementing promises.

Ayyappan receives first set

Ayyappan, a resident of the samathuvapuram, and his wife, A. Anbu, were the first to receive the free colour television set. A beaming Ayyappan said that it was the first time that he saw "big people like the Chief Minister so near" and the moment was yet to sink in.

Helped by his sons, he carried the 14-inch colour television home, and, almost immediately, switched it on. Many people who had come to the function joined to check out the television set.

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