Madurai, Apr. 28:
Addressing a massive gathering not seen in recent times, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa declared amidst repeated cheers that the height of the Mullaperiyar dam, the lifeline of people of southern districts, will be raised to 152 feet for which she had fought and won the Supreme Court approval.
She ridiculed the DMK’s election promise of taking steps to recover revenue loss suffered by the State government to the tune of Rs 1,10,000 crore due to illegal granite quarries in Madurai.
Jayalalithaa charged the DMK for not taking action against illegal granite quarrying “as it had personal interests for which it should be routed in the ensuing elections.” Listing out the scams of the UPA-II like 2G spectrum, coal and Adarsh Housing, Jayalalithaa said: “Do not forget that it is the Congress-DMK combine which indulged in scam even in conduct of .the Commonwealth games.”
Pointing out the humongous revenue loss of crores of rupees, Jayalalithaa said that DMK president M Karunanidhi, remained a mute spectator just to curry favour for his family members. “As the then Chief Minister, Karunanidhi had in 2009 returned the files sent by officials on the illegal quarrying, and his grandson colluded with illegal firms in Madurai. Granite quarrying was banned in Madurai in 2012 itself based on the recommendation by then District Collector. If DMK wanted to recover revenue loss, it has to unearth the corruption that took place under its rule,” Jayalalithaa said.
Jayalalithaa said that disturbingly, “Neither Karunanidhi nor his DMK government took action against those behind illegal granite miners. No action was taken. Since they were responsible for looting, they elbowed aside granite looters and took action against those who exposed it.”
Recalling the audacity of DMK to take action against a Tamil daily, which had exposed alleged illegal granite mining in Madurai, Jayalalithaa said: “No study was done to unearth the irregularities in granite mining. After I assumed office as Chief Minister, I ordered detailed investigation and in 2012 the then Madurai District Collector gave a report to the government.”
“In the report, the Collector had said that he inspected three quarries and pegged revenue loss to the tune of about Rs 16,000 crore. During my regime, criminal action was taken, cases registered and granite mining halted in Madurai.
Action was being taken on the basis of court-appointed Legal Commissioner and senior IAS officer U Sagayam’s report to the Madras High Court.”
Jayalalithaa reassured the people of Southern Districts that efforts would be taken to increase water level in Mullaperiyar dam to its full reservoir level of 152 feet. She noted that the level at Mullaiperiyar dam has been increased to 142 feet and promised that if the AIADMK is voted back to power, her government would take strong measures to increase the level to 152 feet Jayalalithaa assured that approval for taking up dam strengthening work from the Central Water Commission has been obtained and work has been sanctioned. “Once the work is completed, the level of the dam would be increased to 152 feet,” she said.
Jayalalithaa flayed the DMK for its “inaction” on the issue when it ruled the State and when it shared power with Congress at the Centre. She wondered why the DMK, in its current manifesto, has claimed that it would impress upon the Centre to execute the Supreme Court verdict of increasing the water level to 142 feet. “For the past two years, water has been stored up to 142 feet,” she pointed out.
Blame it on
The humongous crowd rose to its feet when Jayalalithaa thundered that permission for conducting Jallikattu will be obtained. “Blame it on Congress and the DMK for the Supreme Court banning the traditional bull taming sport. The UPA government at the Centre had issued a notification in 2011 that included bulls in the list of animals that could not be exhibited or trained as performing animals.”
Recounting the sustained pressure by her government, Jayalalithaa said that the Centre issued another notification in January 2016 permitting conduct of Jallikattu. “However, since the bulls continued to be in the list of animals that could not be exhibited, the Supreme Court banned jallikattu again. “I give you the assurance that we will get the rights for conduct of Jallikattu.”
Jayalalithaa had a pertinent request to give the DMK-Congress combine a drubbing much like the 2011 Assembly and 2014 Parliament polls. “You have to put a full stop to their swindling ways. Only if you deliver the knockout blow, the loot-combine will permanently go. A full stop has to be put and the onus is on each individual to do that.”
Jayalalithaa introduced the candidates who were on the dais and sought support for 45 party candidates contesting in the 11 southern districts, including ministers O Panneerselvam, ‘Naththam’ R Viswananthan, RB Udayakumar and ‘Sellur’ K Raju. She also canvased for alliance candidates, actors R Sarathkumar and Karunas.