SALEM: Asserting that he was very much a functional Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday said no files were pending with the State government.
Addressing reporters after an all departmental review meeting at the Salem Collectorate, he said that in about 70 days, he had signed 1,500 files and no file was pending as on date.
“As many as 300 pending claims for various government aid, including solatium for cracker unit blast victims have been signed,” he said.
Palaniswami’s self appraisal comes in the wake of the opposition’s barbs that he was a benami chief minister and that the State government was in a virtual limbo.
Brushing off political queries saying he would only take questions on the government’s functioning from the Collectorate, the chief minister explained the steps were being taken to address drought-induced drinking water shortage and farmers’ needs.
He said with the failure of Northeast and Southwest monsoons, this year’s drought was most severe in 140 years, which was why dams and lakes have insufficient storage.Yet measures have been initiated to ensure drinking water. The government has sanctioned Rs 500 crore to the TWAD Board to take up steps through the local bodies. Most problematic areas were identified additional fund was sanctioned, he said.
“To meet irrigational needs, the Kudimaramathu scheme (a participatory community-based scheme) was initiated. Local bodies and the water users forums were jointly engaged in desilting and deepening water bodies. A sum of Rs 300 crore was allocated for taking up repair of sluices, strengthening of bunds and clearing chocked channels. Works in 1,519 lakes have been taken up so far,” he said.
“The demand made by farmers to the late CM Jayalalithaa to allow them to remove silt from lakes and waterbodies has been now accepted and farmers with nanjai lands (wet lands) have been allowed to take 25 units of silt and those with punjai (dry) lands have been allowed to take 30 units, totally free of cost.