CHENNAI: The war of words between archrivals DMK and AIADMK over Metro Rail continued with the former asking Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to clarify when her government had taken a decision about the project.
Responding to Jayalalithaa's statement that the seeds for the project were sown in 2003, DMK President M Karunanidhi asked that if it were so, on what date was the issue discussed in the cabinet or when the foundation stone was laid.
"Between 2003 and 2006, Jayalalithaa was chief minister. Can she announce what percentage of Metro rail work was initiated during this three year period?" he asked.
Listing out the efforts taken by his government in this regard, he said it had ordered Detailed Project Report (DPR) and handed over the work to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
The project was listed as Special Initiative under his direct supervision and later transferred to his son and then Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin, he said.
The DPR was later approved by the cabinet in November 2007 and a Special Purpose Vehicle formed the next month, he said in a statement here.
Karunanidhi recalled that after securing 59 per cent of the total loan amount from Japanese International Cooperation Agency, besides share capitals and loans from both the Centre and state government, the Union Cabinet had in January 2009 approved the project.
But soon after taking over in 2011, the AIADMK government had not laid stress on Metro Rail but instead opted for Monorail, with mention about it being made in successive Governor's addresses and budgets, before the ruling party 'changed its mind.'
Countering Jayalalithaa on the launch of works regarding Metro Rail construction, Karunanidhi said Stalin had greenflagged it in June 2009.
On Jayalalithaa's contention that Karunanidhi had given the nod for the Tamil Nadu government to sign an MoU on fixing fares and "he does not have any locus standi to talk" about rates, he asked if he had approved the present tariff of of Rs 40 for a 10 km journey.
Incidentally, the issue of high fares had been raised by all political parties in the state, he added.
The first phase of the Rs 14,600 crore Chennai Metro Rail, the Alandur-Koyambedu sector, was flagged off by Jayalalithaa on Monday.
Since then the two Dravidian parties have been sparring over claiming credit for the transport service.