VILLUPURAM: Taking a veiled swipe at right-wing forces during the inauguration of a Periyar Memorial Samathuvapuram near Vanur in Villupuram district on Tuesday, Chief Minister MK Stalin said people understood well that the issues confronting the country today were due to the dominance of some who propagate "regressive opinions" and "superstitious practices".
"Such conspiracies fail to gain traction in Tamil Nadu because of the work of reformist leaders such as Thanthai Periyar, Dravidian icon CN Annadurai, and late CM M Karunanidhi," he said, and added that all of Tamil Nadu will soon become a samathuvapuram. Development work pending for 10 years under the AIADMK was completed by the DMK government in 10 months, Stalin said.
In 2010, then CM M Karunanidhi laid the foundation for a samathuvapuram at Kozhuvari village near Vanur in Villupuram district but the work was stopped after a change of government in 2011. After the DMK returned to power, the work was completed at a cost of Rs 2.88 crore and hundreds of houses were built with water and road facilities, Stalin said.
The CM, who asked a woman beneficiary to inaugurate the samathuvapuram, also opened a ration shop and a playground. He laid the foundation stone for an anganwadi centre and library too.
The CM also inaugurated 38 buildings, including Villupuram municipality office, government schools and panchayat union offices, built at a cost of Rs 24.77 crore, and distributed welfare assistance worth Rs 42.7 crore at a function held at Ozhindhiyapattu village near Vanur.
Stalin said, "People were divided on the basis of caste, religion, economic status, gender, superstition and slavery. Thanthai Periyar made us realise we are all Tamils and human beings with self-respect. If Periyar, Anna and Kalaingar were not there, we won’t be here; Tamils would not have achieved this status."
"In deference to Periyar's wish for an egalitarian society, Kalaingar launched the Periyar Memorial Samathuvapuram project in 1997 when he was CM. This kind of samathuvapurams exists only in Tamil Nadu and this is the Dravidian Model. Kalaingar opened 238 samathuvapurams across Tamil Nadu," he added.
"Through the samathuvapuram project, we made it possible for people of all castes to live together. I learnt that 90 per cent of residents continue to live in samathuvapurams and it's a success for us. These samathuvapurams were ignored for 10 years by the AIADMK government," the CM said.
"We allotted Rs 190 crore to carry out repair works in samathuvapurams opened from 1997 to 2010. Soon, all samathuvapurams will get a new look. A total of Rs 6,790 crore was spent for local bodies and for village panchayats alone Rs 4,500 crore was spent over the last 10 months. Mahatma Gandhi said India lives in its villages. We must strengthen villages as they will be the backbone of India's growth and development," he added.