Chennai: Listing out the various projects for preserving the monsoon rainwater as well as the Cauvery inflows for optimum use in irrigation and drinking purposes, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday said his government “has already begun multiple projects across the state to ensure not a drop of water goes wasted”.
Hitting back at DMK president M K Stalin who had earlier in the day poked fun at him for announcing his next trip abroad would be to Israel to study water conservation and usage “when he is not able to prevent wastage of 10,000 to 20,000 cusecs of Cauvery outflow going into the sea”, the CM said: “He has no way of knowing what my government is doing for the welfare of people; for, he merely reads out speeches and statements written for him by others. He should see what we have been doing for harvesting and preserving water”.
“His father (Karunanidhi) was the Chief Minister for five terms and he (Stalin) was the Deputy CM once. Did they build even one check-dam for Cauvery-Kollidam to save water? On the other hand, we have already begun the inspection work for building three check-dams at Kollidam. This is part of a major initiative announced by my Government to build several check-dams to save water and prevent wastage into the sea”, CM Palaniswami told reporters at the Coimbatore airport, adding, “My Government is determined not to allow even one drop of water to go wasted”.
Countering Stalin’s allegation of corruption in the works related to de-silting of water bodies, the CM argued that the de-silting works were being undertaken by the people of the respective areas and the government involvement was limited to merely sanctioning 90 per cent of the funds required. The locals contribute 10 per cent funds besides their physical toil. “Where is the scope for any corruption in these works? He (Stalin) is making wild allegations out of frustration”, he said.
CM Palaniswami claimed “overwhelming public support” when the government completed the de-silting of 1,519 water bodies at a total cost of Rs 100 crore (last year). The second phase to de-silt 1,590 water bodies at a cost of Rs 328 crore is in progress while the third phase has also begun and will see Rs 500 crore spent on de-silting 1,838 water bodies.
“We have allocated Rs.66 crore for de-silting works in the delta region”, he said, pointing out that the various District Collectors were closely overseeing the works in their jurisdiction to ensure quick execution in transparent manner.
A reporter pointed out that Stalin had ridiculed him and his Ministers as a “touring Cabinet” as many of them had abroad claiming to study the developments and progress in those countries for possible replication in Tamil Nadu.
CM's retort: “Stalin does not care for the state. We can gain first-hand knowledge of the tools of progress in various countries, so that we may adapt them here. (Andhra CM) Chandrababu Naidu had gone to the USA more than ten times. These trips are useful to enthuse the foreign investors to come to Tamil Nadu by explaining to them the opportunities and possibilities here, such as the allocation of land and electricity, besides the single-window approvals”.
“These foreign trips are aimed at fast-tracking economic development and industrial growth in Tamil Nadu, which certainly would lead to more jobs”, the CM said.
“How many White Papers did the DMK Governments release?” he shot back, when a reporter referred to Stalin’s demand for White Paper on investments born out his foreign trip....