DMK vows to halt Methane, Neutrino projects in Tamil Nadu

The Chief Minister had dismissed the claims as false and defamatory and approached the court.

Chennai: The DMK Tuesday assured steps to do away with Methane extraction and neutrino projects and promised revival of its pet Sethusamudram plan and protect the firecracker industry in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls.

Efforts to get back Katchatheevu to India from Sri Lanka, caste based census, casteless model villages named after leaders 'Periyar-Jyotirao Phule,' were among the assurances.

Slamming "exorbitant charges," for transactions like ATM withdrawals, and "penalising," customers for not maintaining minimum balance, the DMK said such charges will be refunded.

Opposing the "imposition of Hindi," the DMK promised steps to make Tamil a co-official language in all Central government offices in Tamil Nadu and to make all State languages as official languages of the Union.

Free train travel for school, college students and employment to one crore youth as road workers for maintaining roads, reservation in promotion in the services of the union government and filling backlog vacancies as per the 27 per cent quota for OBCs were also promised.

Apparently, seeking to target its arch rival, the ruling AIADMK, the DMK said it would urge the Centre for a CBI probe into the Kodanadu estate murder and robbery case.

In the Kodanadu heist case, a Delhi based journalist had released a video seeking to allegedly link Chief Minister K Palaniswami to the matter. The Chief Minister had dismissed the claims as false and defamatory and approached the court.

The Cauvery basin in Tamil Nadu "is the granary of the south," the Dravidian party said in its manifesto, adding the entire Cauvery delta region should hence be protected.

The region will be protected as an "Exclusive Agricultural Zone," it said echoing a demand by the PMK which is now an ally of the ruling AIADMK.

The M K Stalin-led party assured that activities that will affect agriculture will not be permitted in the delta region.

"The DMK will urge the Centre to give up the Methane project in Cauvery delta region to protect agriculture and to drop the Neutrino project in Tamil Nadu," the party said.

Both the Methane extraction in Cauvery delta and a proposed Neutrino project in Theni district has evoked strong opposition from the local people, pro-Tamil outfits and most parties are now aligned against the proposals.

A few years ago when protests against Methane extraction gained momentum, the DMK found itself on the backfoot since it was in 2011 during its rule that a Memorandum was signed for Coal bed methane production in the delta area.

In an indirect reference to this point, the DMK said it had accepted the Methane proposal in "good faith," as it was assured then that there will be no impact due to the initiative.

Promising to pressure the Centre to nationalise inter-State rivers, the DMK said it would stoutly oppose Karnataka's Mekedatu dam project and take steps for increasing water level in Muallaiperiyar dam to 152 feet.

On the Sethusamudram project, the DMK said it will benefit Tamil Nadu and more importantly the southern districts, its often repeated argument.

The Centre has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court for exploring the possibility of an alternative route for the project implementation, the party said.

The DMK said, hence, it would work for "recommencing the work by expediting disposal of the case pending in the apex court and help the development of the southern districts.

In the wake of the row over air pollution and the matter going to the Supreme Court and a strike by the fire cracker industry at Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, the DMK assured the sector's workforce of its support.

The DMK promised steps to exempt factories manufacturing fire crackers that provides employment to more than a million people from the ambit of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

AIADMK top leader and Chief Minister K Palaniswami too had made a similar promise.

The DMK will strive for setting up ISRO's second rocket launching centre at Kulasekarapattinam in Tuticorin district and a Indian Space Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre at Mahdendragiri in Tirunevlei district.

Citing the income tax raids in Tamil Nadu, the DMK said it will press the Centre to take steps to punish the guilty.

The demand is seen as a pointer to searches since 2017 held in premises connected to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's aide V K Sasikala -now serving sentence in a Bengaluru jail in an assets case- and Health Minister C Vijayabaskar's residence here.

Statehood status for Puducherry, nudging Central PSUs to employ not less than 90 per cent of people from the respective States where the undertakings are situated are among other promises.

Judiciary must be the origin of social justice as well, the party said and demanded reservation for SCs, STs, and OBCs in all courts from the subordinate level to apex court.

On federalism and autonomy, the DMK said it will continue to press for Constitutional amendments to enable States to function with "full rights."

Scrapping Article 356 that provides for dismissal of State governments and opposition to the office of Governor and setting up a regional council for states to provide a platform for resolution of problems, 33 per cent quota for women in Parliament and assemblies are the other aspects of the DMK's policy document.

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