CHENNAI: Stung by actor Kamal Haasan’s reported comments accusing the authorities of poor response to the floods, State Finance Minister O Panneerselvam hit back at the actor, saying that unlike in movies, relief initiatives would take time, effort and planning.
Instead of becoming a pawn in the hands of those wanting to malign the government, the actor should take note of the measures taken by the government for the betterment of the state over the years before passing comments, Panneerselvam said on Saturday.
The minister was annoyed by Kamal’s comments on a website saying the response to the unprecedented situation has been poor. In reply, Panneerselvam detailed the efforts taken by the government in the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the persons affected by the rains. Going a step further, the minister listed the funds allocated for social welfare, infrastructure development and disaster management, sarcastically asking the actor to pay attention to budget documents during his busy schedule.
“Wearing an intellectual’s garb, Kamal Haasan has asked ‘why not give the `4,000 crore that has been allocated for corporate projects to the 120 crore people of India?’ It seems he is asking that question to the Centre. We don’t know what he has against the Union government; maybe because the Centre is not waiving the service tax on films,” he said.
Panneerselvam recalled the travails the actor went through during the release of Vishwaroopam, during which he had stated he would move out of the State and country ‘out of selfish interest’.
At that point of time, it was Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who resolved the issue, which the actor has now forgotten, the minister said.