CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday announced that variety meal with masala egg, now given in selected schools on an experimental basis, would be extended to all noon-meal and anganwadi centres in Tamil Nadu, during her Independence Day address here on Friday.
As a pilot project, in each district, variety meal with masala egg was provided to beneficiaries in three schools and anganwadi centres in a panchayat union. “Since there is good response to the scheme, it will be extended to all noon-meal centres and anganwadi centres,” the Chief Minister said.
Jayalalithaa also announced that monthly pension for freedom fighters would be hiked from `9,000 to `10,000 and the family pension being given to their legal heirs would be increased from `4,500 to `5,000. This would benefit 1,955 freedom fighters and their family members. The measure would cost `1.43 crore.
Besides, the special pension of `2,000 being given to descendants of Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Marudhu brothers, Muthuramalinga Vijaya Raghunatha Sethupathi and V O Chidambaram would be hiked to `4,500. This would benefit 195 people and cost `58.50 lakh.
Recalling the supreme sacrifice made by Bhagat Singh and others to win freedom, she gave a long list of prominent freedom fighters. She said the contribution of Tamils to the freedom movement was immeasurable.
Stating that the government headed by her has been implementing many a welfare scheme, the CM said “The benefits of Independence are reaching the poor... in fact, my government has been delivering the quintessence of Independence to them. As such, it has been established that no one is above others.”
Referring to the Tamil proverb yaezhai soll ambalam yeraadhu (the words of poor don’t reach the authorities), Jayalalithaa said her government had forfeited that view and now, only the words of the poor alone rule the roost at Fort St George. In this connection, she reiterated her opposition to the GAIL project to lay gas pipes through farms, the methane extraction project in the Cauvery delta area, GM crops and Foreign Direct Investment in retail trade. She also gave a detailed account of the pro-poor schemes being implementing by her government.
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, Judges of Madras High Court, State ministers, senior government officials and a large number of public took part in the Independence Day celebrations.