Karunanidhi launches wasteland development scheme
Chennai, Sep 17: Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today launched the wasteland development scheme here in neighbouring district of Tiruvallur.
Under the scheme, poor landless agricultural labourers would be given two acres of land as promised in the DMK's election manifesto, which had catapulted the DPA to power in the May Assembly polls.
In the first phase today, 26,321 acres of wastelands were developed and given to 24,949 poor landless farmers across the state, 1000 in Tiruvallur district alone.
Of this, 6,881 acres of non-encroached government waste lands were made cultivable and given to 5076 farmers and 10,564 acres of encroached lands were developed and given to 14,083 small and marginal farmers. Similarly, 8,876 acres of Patta Waste lands belonging to 5,790 small and marginal farmers were converted into cultivable land and given back to them.
Speaking after launching the scheme, Mr Karunanidhi said the ruling DMK would give in five years time the extent of developed wastelands given in West Bengal over ten years. ''This scheme will continue and there is no personal benefit out of this for me. It is only to provide livelihood to the farmers.'' Referring to the criticism to the scheme from the opposition, he said ''the job of the opposition parties is to oppose it. We are not bothered about it.'' ''We should take such criticisms as a source of inspiration and we will swim against the tide. Only we will reach the shore and also make the people do so,'' he added.
The much-awaited scheme, which was devised after an expert team studied the distribution pattern in West Bengal, was simultaneously launched in various parts of Tamil Nadu by the state ministers.
Finance Miniser K Anbazhagan launched the scheme at Pudukottai, Cooperatives Minister Ko Si Mani at Thanjavur, Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam at Salem, PWD Minister Duraimurugan at Vellore, Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy at Villuppuram, Transport Minister K N Nehru at Tiruchy, Backward Classes Minister M R K Panneerselvam at Cuddalore, Law Minister I Periasamy at Dindugul, Information and Publicity Minister Parithi Ilamvazhuthi at Karur, Food Minister E V Velu at Tiruvannamalai, Housing Minister Subha Thangavelan at Ramanathapuram and Health Minister K K S S R Ramachandran at Virudhunagar.
Union Minister A Raja launched the scheme in Perambalur district.
This scheme too drew flak from Leader of the Oppositon and AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa, who had questioned the feasibility of the scheme.
However, Mr Karunanidhi said there was no going back on the promise and launched it on Periyar's birth anniversary as announced in the state Assembly.