TAMIL NADU

PMK also warns of staying away

CHENNAI April 9. If the current trend of ``stifling Opposition voice'' continues in the Assembly, the PMK will also boycott the remainder of the budget session, the party founder, S. Ramadoss, told presspersons here today.

The administrative committee would meet next week to decide on the issue.

(Yesterday, the DMK announced that it would boycott the rest of the session if the suspension of two of its members was not revoked.)

The PMK founder wanted to know what tradition of the House the Speaker, K. Kalimuthu, was referring to when he suspended the DMK's J. Anbazhagan. In the very same Assembly there were two instances - in 1974 and 1988 - of two Speakers trying to conduct proceedings at the same time and lowering the dignity of House.

At least a few members in the Treasury Benches now were with the ruling party even then. ``Even Mr. Kalimuthu knows all this,'' Dr. Ramadoss said.

On achievements, he said the Government had nothing to speak of. In what area was the State number one? It had the chance of making it to the top slot in electricity transmission, by cutting down transmission and distribution losses, but the State had not done much. This despite the Centre making available a grant of Rs. 50 crores and a loan for an equal amount for every Rs. 100-crore worth of power saved. Gujarat led the race, and together with Maharashtra and Haryana, had been allotted Rs.1,662 crores for conservation efforts.

At another level, cities in Tamil Nadu could not measure up to the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) ranking, Dr. Ramadoss said and pointed out that Chennai occupied only the sixth place.

On the move to demolish the Queen Mary's College here, Dr. Ramadoss said it was only a ruse to change Development Control Rules applicable to the fragile ecological stretch on the Marina. Once the DCR was amended, the doors would be opened for commercial exploitation of the stretch from Santhome to Chepauk. This needed to be resisted.

Dr. Ramadoss said he was not going to the college, as the visit would be politicised.

Welcoming the proposed anti-defection Bill, he, however, said Assembly Speakers should not be vested with deciding on party splits. Even a former Lok Sabha Speaker, Shivraj Patil, commented that Speakers should not be given this task as they had their roots in one party or the other. Courts should be entrusted with deciding on defections. This would not amount to the Legislature abdicating its responsibility, Dr. Ramadoss said.