CM J Jayalalithaa, while speaking at the mass marriages of 1,006 couples here on Monday, recalled that the free marriage scheme was introduced by late Chief Minister MG Ramachandran in 1982. She said during her first tenure as CM between 1991 and 1996, she had presided over as many a 2,500 marriages in Chidambaram and 5,004 marriages in Tiruchy, organised by the AIADMK.
Similarly, during her second tenure as CM, she had conducted 1,008 marriages in 2002 and 1,053 marriages in 2003 at Thiruverkadu, she recalled. She said that after assuming the office of the CM for the third term, she had introduced the Gold for Thirumaangalyam Scheme, considering the fact that many girls were unable to get married even after attaining the proper age for marriage.
Under the scheme, four grams of gold and `25,000 and four grams of gold and `50,000 have been given to girls hailing from poor families and to those girls who have a diploma or a degree. Besides, maternity assistance has been doubled to `12,000 per woman.
She said the Hindu Religious and Charitable Department, which has organised the mass marriages, made elaborate arrangements for the to and fro journey of the couples and 10 of their relatives. To avoid journeying at night, couples from districts like Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi were given lodging facilities at Tiruchy on June 16 and they had then travelled to Chennai. The couples and their relatives were given delicious food during their stay.
Assembly Speaker D Jayakumar presided over the mass marriage ceremony. HR and CE Minister MSM Anandan and Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi felicitated the newly weds, while M Rajaram, Secretary, Information, Tamil Development and Religious Endowments, proposed a vote of thanks.