Deputy Leader of the Opposition and nine-time legislator Durai Murugan on Wednesday kept the House engrossed in his speech on the State Budget, which was punctuated with his customary witticisms.
Many of his observations were countered by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and their colleagues.
Beginning his speech with a suggestion for a waiver of agricultural loans taken by farmers from cooperative and nationalised banks, Mr. Durai Murugan proceeded to quote from news articles about how the government had slipped in relief work in the wake of Cyclone Gaja, after having taken wellthought-out preparedness measures.
In his response, Mr. Palaniswami said the government had covered all those who were hit by the cyclone but those who remained unaffected too were seeking relief assistance.
When the DMK veteran raised questions about the execution of certain projects meant to address the problem of water shortage in Chennai, Mr. Palaniswami did not let it go unchallenged. Local Administration Minister S.P. Velumani too gave his response.
After Mr. Durai Murugan raised the issue of arrears from the Centre on the post-matric scholarship scheme for SC/ST students, Mr. Panneerselvam said the Centre had just released about ₹822 crore to the State government.
In his budget speech on Friday last, the Deputy Chief Minister said arrears of ₹985.8 crore had not yet been released by the Central government.
To Mr. Durai Murugan’s query on the status of 98 MoUs signed during the 2015 Global Investors’ Meet, Industries Minister M.C. Sampath said 64 projects were being implemented.
Similarly, when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked about the progress of power projects, Electricity Minister P. Thangamani explained the reasons for the delay in some projects and assured him that all the proposed projects will get commissioned.
When Mr. Durai Murugan sought to know the fate of the seat held by former Youth Welfare and Sports Minister Balakrishna Reddy, who had quit the Ministry following a conviction in a case, the Speaker said that “appropriate action will be taken as per law”.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition concluded his speech with the remark:”I hope this is the last Budget of the AIADMK government.” With this, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.