Chennai, Dec 26 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said the Government was implementing the free colour television scheme in a transparent manner and dismissed as ''baseless'', charges of irregularities in implementing the scheme.
Reacting to DMDK leader and actor-politician Vijayakant's charge that the scheme was not implemented properly, the Chief Minister, in a statement here, said just because there were problems in a couple of places, it was not fair to fault the scheme as a whole.
He said Mr Vijayakant would not have taken the pains to find fault with the scheme, had he agreed to be part of the Committee of Legislators, constituted to ensure transparency in the procurement and distribution of colour TV sets.
Mr Karunanidhi said soon after it was brought to his notice that some of the beneficiaries had sold the TV sets, he had directed the Director General of Police and City Police Commissioner to inquire into such incidents and take action.
In the city, a special team, formed to inquire into the issue, had arrested about ten people, who sold the TV sets, and seized all the sets. The Commissioner had warned action under the Goondas Act, if anyone tried to buy the TV sets from the beneficiaries, he recalled.
Giving details of the procurement process, Mr Karunanidhi said the Government maintained absolute transparency in buying TV sets from various companies after floating global tenders and there was no scope for any irregularity.
He said as per the decision to provide 10,000 TV sets in each of the 234 Assembly constituencies, the Government, till December 13, had distributed 24,48,698 sets to the general public. For 2007-08, a sum of Rs 750 crore had been allotted for procuring 30 lakh TV sets.
After the tender process, the Legislators' Committee, headed by him, finalised the procurement price at Rs 2,197 per set from various companies.
While the TV sets were bought at the rate of Rs 2,740 per set in the first phase, the price had been brought down to Rs 2,197 in the second phase, helping the Government to save Rs 162.90 crore which had been kept apart for procuring 34.25 lakh TV sets, Mr Karunanidhi said.
Orders have been issued to procure 34.25 lakh TV sets and the process was on, he said, adding that under the scheme, all the families in the State which do not have TV sets would be provided with a free set.