“Elangovan's statements will strain DMK-Congress alliance”

Taking exception to Congress leader and former Union Minister E.V.K. S. Elangovan's observations against the DMK government, Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi on Thursday said the Congress leader's statements would not strengthen the DMK-Congress alliance but would strain it.

Reacting to Mr. Elangovan's speech in Erode on Wednesday in which he accused the DMK government of claiming credit for the Union government-funded programmes, the Chief Minister, in a statement, explained that the Congress leader had confused the Kalaignar Housing Scheme, a State scheme, with the Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), a Central scheme.

Free houses

The IAY, once a component of the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, became an independent scheme in 1997-1998.

Under this scheme, free houses would be built for the houseless Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, freed bonded labourers in rural areas and other segments of the rural people living below poverty line.

The IAY was being funded by the Centre and the State in the ratio of 75:25.

Mr. Karunanidhi recalled that when the Kalaignar Housing Scheme was announced [early this year] during the Governor's address to the Assembly, it was stated that if all the huts in the State were to be converted into permanent houses only under the IAY, it would take another 30 years.

The Kalaignar Housing Scheme would be launched during 2010-2011, covering the conversion of 21 lakh huts into concrete-roofed permanent houses.

In the first year, three lakh huts would be built at a cost of Rs. 1,800 crore.

The State budget had also talked of the scheme, which was now under implementation.

Without understanding the difference between the Central and State schemes, Mr. Elangovan wondered whether it was fair to name the rural housing scheme after him [Mr. Karunanidhi], the Chief Minister added.

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