Replying to debate on demand for grants for Public Works department in the Assembly, Palaniswami said that about 76 per cent of the works of the reservoir, which can store one tmcft in two fillings for the City has been completed. The reservoir being developed by linking Kannankottai Rajaneri and Thervoy Kandigai lake has also been planned in such a way that it would irrigate 696 acres of agriculture land. Development of the reservoir had hit a roadblock earlier due to delay in acquisition of private land.
The Chief Minister also informed the House that the Union Water Resources Minister has assured to divert 125 tmcft to Cauvery river from Godavari River as a part of Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Ponnar-Palar-Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundaar interlinking project.
Recalling that he had requested the Union Minister to expedite the project at a meeting in Chennai on November 11, 2017, the CM said that the Union Minister had assured to divert 125 tmcft to Cauvery River instead of the proposed 57 tmcft. The CM added assuring the House that the state would make all efforts to implement the interlinking project.
He also said the government was taking steps to take up 1,511 kudimaramathu projects at an estimated cost of Rs 328.95 crore.
State in no mood to drop action on TV debate ruckus cases
Even while the Opposition and journalists’ fora wanted withdrawal of cases registered against Puthiya Thalaimurai TV management, its journalist and director Ameer over the ruckus in a debate show, the state indicated that it was in no mood to ‘drop action’ against those booked for the remarks in the show, and that it would pursue the cases based on the merits of the investigation.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami informed the House that the TV Channel had been telecasting an edited version of the show without the communally objectionable remarks made by Ameer and the subsequent ruckus and intervention of the police.
Adding that police was in possession of an unedited footage which features the entire turn of events, including the remarks made by Ameer, Palaniswami asserted that the TV channel conducted the event without approval from the police. “The TV channel was not issued a no objection certificate (NOC) for the indoor meeting. However, they conducted it at a private college hall on June 8,” he said. The NOC was denied as debating a sensitive topic in communally sensitive Coimbatore would have ramifications in the law & order and peace prevailing there. “Even as there was no permission, protection was provided in view of participation of leaders from various parties,” he added.
“MLA U Thaniyarasu bringing up the issue of Babri Masjid demolition and other unrelated things, set off unrest among the viewers. It snowballed into a ruckus when Ameer made some more sensitive remarks and the opposing group countering it despite attempts to cool tempers by their party (BJP) leader (Tamilisai),” the CM said.
Palaniswami’s reply came in response to Leader of Opposition MK Stalin who demanded that all cases registered in this regard be dropped. Congress leader KR Ramasamy, AIADMK allies Thaniyarasu and Thamimun Ansari, joined the chorus.
Underscoring the state’s commitment in upholding press freedom, the CM said TV channels should be cautious on topics.
Salem-Chennai Green Corridor will not affect environment: EPS
Clearing apprehensions over the Chennai-Salem Green Corridor project, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said in the Assembly that the project would not affect environment, mineral resources, farm, and forest lands.
“For the green-field highway only about 1,900 hectares of land will be acquired and not several thousand hectares of land and out of this, about 400 hectares are government owned poromboke lands,” he said.
The proposed expressway goes through only 49 hectare of forest land (falling in towns including Chengelpet, Arani, Polur, Chengam and Harur) corresponding to 9.955 km out of the total length of 277.30 km, he said.
In respect of about 3.1 km of forest land for Salem bypass section of the green highway, a tunnel will be constructed to ensure that forests were not affected, he said adding no hindrance would be caused to wildlife also.
On both sides of the highway about 3 lakh saplings will be planted and only a small number of trees will be felled.
The proposed highway will cut distance by over 60 km and bring down the travel time by half (it will be only about 2 hours and 15 minutes between Salem-Chennai) and lead to an annual saving of Rs 700 crore worth of fuel, Palaniswami said.
“The task of preparing a Detailed Project Report has been entrusted with a private firm,” he said adding other works, including measuring required lands and acquisition was on. At present, to reach Salem in western Tamil Nadu from Chennai, it will take about five hours either through Chennai-Bengaluru (via Vellore/360 kms) or Chennai-Madurai (via Ullundurpet/350 kms) highways, he said.
The two highways have traffic density more than their respective capacities and it would only increase further, he said adding if these were to be expanded, it would require 2,200 hectares of land and demolition of about 40,000 houses and industries.
The new highway will ease traffic on the two highways towards Tamil Nadu’s Western districts, Karnataka and Kerala and also facilitate a fall in accidents, he said. The Chief Minsiter said, since he hailed from Salem “unnecessary accusations,” were being made.
Metro rail’s skywalk may get Central funds
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that they would get concurrence from the Metro Rail while taking up construction work in the areas where Metro Rail alignments are present.
DMK MLA I Periyasamy wanted to know why the feasibility study has turned down the proposals to construct 5 subways – Mount Chinna Malai – AG Church, GST Road – Guindy, Kasi Theater, Jawahar Nagar – Ekkattuthangal and Koyambedu.
“The policy note says it is not feasible citing the Metro Rail whereas the said places have only elevated corridors. I wonder why it is not possible,” he said. CM replied that the state would have to take permission from the Metro Rail to take up any construction in the land which belongs to it. He assured that the issue was under consideration of the government.
He also announced the Centre has offered to fund the construction of Chennai Central Skywalk. The CM’s announcement came when Periyasamy wanted to know why the government has not mentioned about its mega project of Chennai Central Skywalk in the present policy note.