Salem: The AIADMK will not support the TDP's no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha as it only relates to Andhra Pradesh and has nothing to do with Tamil Nadu's interests, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at Mettur after ceremoniously releasing the dam waters for irrigation in the Cauvery delta, the CM said: "I have not brought this no-confidence motion. They (TDP) are bringing it for issues relating to their Andhra Pradesh. Nobody came to our support when the AIADMK MPs agitated for Cauvery and paralysed the Parliament proceedings for 22 days.”
"Who voiced their support for us at that? Which State came forward to help us in our issues, in solving the problems of our delta farmers? Nobody, no State, came forward to help us. Only our MPs agitated in the Parliament on the Cauvery issue", the CM said.
Asked to comment on farmers' leader P. R. Pandian's comment on Wednesday that the State should first get the clearance from the Cauvery Management Authority before opening the Mettur dam, the CM shot back, "What does Pandian know about law? He is just a farmers' leader whereas the government is fully aware of the legal requirements. Water has been released now only after informing the concerned Authority".
To a question on the continuing I-T raids on highway contractor SPK group, the CM reiterated the raids were only to uncover tax evasion and had nothing to do with either the state government or the ruling AIADMK, nor his relationship with the group partner Ramalingam. “Such raids have taken place in routine manner; not just in Tamil Nadu but all over India”, he said, adding that the critics of the government were speaking out of political vendetta.
“It’s not possible to commit any irregularities in awarding contracts as per the Tender Act. They are saying I have awarded contracts to my relative Ramalingam whereas the earlier DMK government had given him 10 contracts worth about Rs 500 crore. How did they do that? He has been in the business for 35 years and executed contracts in several states, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka”, the CM said.
Denying the charge that unwilling farmers were being coerced to part with their land for the Chennai-Salem expressway project, CM Palaniswami said that “majority of the landowners have come forward, saying they have no problem with parting with their land”. While the farmers would get ‘handsome compensation, “some people are fuelling the protests out of political vendetta. These people do not support growth. They just want to oppose the government”, he said.
The CM said 90 per cent of the land acquisition work had been completed for the project that would benefit not only Salem but also the neighbouring Namakkal, Karur and Coimbatore. Also, those going to Kerala would benefit from the expressway as their travel distance and time would come down. Such mega road projects were necessary to boost the industrialisation in Tamil Nadu.
CM Palaniswami also pointed out that the fishermen who had opposed the Sterlite copper smelter unit in Thoothukudi have since said they had been
‘brainwashed’ by some people to oppose the unit. The anti-Sterlite protest on May 22 ended in violence, with police firing claiming 13 lives.