TIRUCHY: Even as hundreds of industry leaders and officials gathered for the inauguration of the defence corridor project watched, a heated exchange broke out between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, AIADMK parliamentarian P Kumar and State Tourism Minister Vellamandi N Natarajan.
The AIADMK leaders drew the Defence Minister’s attention to the delay in completing a railway over-bridge at Aristo Junction because land required is yet to be transferred by the Defence Ministry. In his speech, Kumar mentioned that the works have been dragging for the need of the Defence Ministry’s approval.
Immediately, Nirmala Sitharaman chipped in. In a sarcastic tone, she asked Kumar to also tell the voters that the delay was because her ministry had not received details of alternative land, identified by the State government, to compensate for the defence land required. “We have to keep some land for the Army in case of an emergency situation,” she asserted.
“So tell your voters that we have not received such a proposal from the State government,” she told Kumar. In a quick retort, the Tourism Minister informed her that the State had, indeed, identified a piece of land in Kancheepuram and sent a file on the same to Sitharaman’s ministry a good six months ago.
Startled by the response, the Defence Minister maintained that the filed had not reached her table yet.
“I have not received the file. I will inquire about it,” she said. Later, at the media briefing, Nirmala Sitharaman struggled to explain why she hadn’t received the file that was sent to her ministry six months ago.