CHENNAI: Food Minister R. Kamaraj on Friday announced the setting up of ten “Amma petrol bunks’ at places owned by Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation jointly with the oil companies of the country and said they would be expanded to other places in future.
Making the announcement in his reply to the discussion on the demands for grants to his ministry in the Assembly, he said the bunks would be set up at Chief Minister’s constituency Edappadi, Nandanam in Chennai, Thanjavur, Tiruchy, Tiruvarur, Vellore, Nagapattinam, Madurai, Villupuram and Karur.
He said 25 permanent direct procurement centres for paddy would be established in the delta districts at a cost of Rs 10 crores. He also said 50 paddy drying centres would be set up to protect harvested paddy from snowfall and moisture. The minister announced a rise in Dearness Allowance of 4,460 workers of TNCSC from Rs 2,450 to 2,995.
Kamaraj announced the introduction of bar coding to ensure quality and proper weight of commodities supplied from TNCSC godowns to the retail outlets. The machinery and software required for bar coding would be procured, he said. The rice allocated from the central pool is moved to state government godowns only after testing the quality, Kamaraj said.
The minister also announced the procurement of electronic weighing tables, laptops for department officials and special training for the staff for maintenance of rice mills and storage godowns. He also said ultraviolet light traps would be installed at the storage godowns to protect the cereals from insects.
He said the Centre had planned to implement the methods followed by Tamil Nadu in eradicating rice smuggling and this showed the success of the state government’s efforts to stop rice smuggling. The minister said 2,680 persons had been arrested for rice smuggling and they include those running the business besides the lorry drivers and cleaners.
Replying to allegations of Congress member Vijayadharani, the minister denied the existence of plastic rice in the state. Describing the charges as ‘rumours’, he said such reports were spread by the social media.
He said the price of plastic waste is higher than that of rice and pointed out that plastic would melt when boiled. No plastic rice had been found anywhere in the country, he asserted.
Safety infra of cooperative societies to be strengthened
Co-operative Minister 'Sellur' K Raju on Friday announced the allocation of over Rs 25 crores to improve the safety facilities of cooperative societies to protect valuables like jewels and documents.
Replying to the discussion on the demands for grants to his ministry at the Assembly, the minister said solar power generators would be installed in 61 cooperative societies to reduce electricity expenses and protect the environment.
The Minister also came out with various announcements of new buildings for co-operative societies throughout the state. He said infrastructure facilities at various co-operative societies for the welfare of farmers. He announced the opening of three cooperative bank branches in Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami's home district of Salem. Besides, he also said the headquarters of the Salem District Central Co-operative Bank and the community centre would be modernised.
Raju said the deposits of cooperative banks had gone up from Rs 26,247crore in DMK rule to Rs 57,009 cores and several loans for housing facility, two wheeler and four wheeler. Reacting to the demand of DMK member and former Minister EV Velu that crop loans of all the farmers should be waived, the minister said the AIADMK in its election manifesto had promised to write off the loans of small and marginal farmers and it had fulfilled its promise.
When Velu cited the loan waivers in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, the minister said the governments had made announcements but no orders had been issued. However, Velu complained that the government is not waiving the loans even after the order of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court and appealed against the verdict in the Supreme Court.