CHENNAI: Leader of Opposition MK Stalin and many ministers and on a few occasions, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami were engaged in an intense debate in the Assembly on Friday over many issues - State’s financial position, special Public Distribution System, power projects, drought relief given to farmers and Cauvery water dispute during the discussion on the budget for 2017-18.
Winding up the discussion on the budget, Stalin said women took to the streets protesting the non-availability of essential commodities in fair price shops.
Food Minister R Kamaraj countered saying it was the DMK cadre who had staged agitations and not women. Stalin challenged that he was ready to prove that women were the protesters. Minister for Cooperation K Sellur Raju admitted that there was a lull in supply of some commodities, but it had been set right already.
Similarly, when Stalin said no new power project had been announced in the budget, Electricity Minister P Thangamani reeled out a list of ongoing new power projects. However, Stalin maintained that the government had wasted five years without doing anything. This drew strong opposition from the Treasury Benches. Sellur K Raju said “Only because of our achievements during the past five years, people gave a historic successive mandate after 32 years.”
When the Opposition leader charged the government with not doing anything to increase the storage of Mullaperiyar dam to 152 feet, the Chief Minister recalled how the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa took steps to increase the storage from 136 feet to 142 feet. Thereafter, `7.85 crore was allocated for strengthening the dam but Kerala government did not extend cooperation for that. However, works for increasing the storage were going on.