THANJAVUR: Reacting to the Madras High Court verdict on closing down sand quarries, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday asserted there were no irregularities in sale of sand and that the State government took over sand sale only to ensure lower price. “The present shortage of sand is the result of the government adhering to the orders of courts,” Palaniswami said adding his government would never abet irregularities.
Had the issue not gone to court, the government’s initiative would have yielded the desired results, he said. “Someone approached the court and the initiative was botched, leading to increase in the price of the sand.”
Justifying the government’s decision, the chief minister pointed out that sand was being sold through online mechanism and that CCTV cameras were installed at quarries to monitor the movement of lorries to prevent irregularities. These measures led to a system where there was no scope for irregularities, he said.
The chief minister also rebutted charges made by senior DMK leader Durai Murugan that the State government was involved in sand smuggling, saying natural resources were plundered during the DMK regime.
Addressing the MGR birth centenary celebrations in Thanjavur on Wednesday, Palaniswami assured farmers that the State government would not implement any scheme that was not welcomed by them and that the AIADMK government would safeguard the interests of farmers. Recalling a letter by party founder and former chief minister M G Ramachandran to the Union government demanding nationalisation of all inter-State rivers, Palaniswami said MGR put forth the idea seeking a permanent solution to the Cauvery imbroglio. Palaniswami also recalled the 84-hour fast undertaken by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa seeking resolution of the issue. “Only after her fast, the issue received wide attention and moved towards a solution,” he emphasised.
After Jayalalithaa knocked the doors of the Supreme Court, the Union government published the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in the gazette, he added. “However, Karnataka has been refusing to release water due to Tamil Nadu and we are waging a legal battle. We hope the State would get a favourable order and a permanent solution,” he added.
Taking a dig at the DMK, Palaniswami pointed out that the party enjoyed power at the Centre for 14 years, yet did not got the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) constituted. “The DMK was only hankering after posts and power at the Centre and was not concerned about the people of the State,” he added.
Recalling the contributions of MGR to Tamil language, including setting up of Tamil University at Thanjavur, the chief minister said MGR was the one who truly implemented the script reform enunciated by E V R Periyar. Earlier, Palaniswami inaugurated a portrait of the MGR and laid foundation for to projects worth `819 crore. He also distributed assistance worth `272 crore to 40,101 people.
Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam reiterated his appeal for unity among cadre.