The drought situation facing the State and the consequent deaths of farmers were among the issues discussed during the State cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam at the Secretariat on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s meeting was the third to be chaired by Mr. Panneerselvam since he took charge as the Chief Minister on December 6, and the first for chief secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, who took over from P. Rama Mohana Rao on December 22.
Apart from the drought, the cabinet also discussed various aspects of joining the Central government’s Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY).
The officer on special duty in the Chief Minister’s Office, Santha Sheela Nair, the adviser to the government, Sheela Balakrishnan and the secretaries to the Chief Minister also took part in the meeting.
Later in the day, Mr. Panneerselvam launched a free bicycle scheme for school students, under which 6.19 lakh bicycles would be distributed to Class XI students at a cost of ₹243.96 crore during the 2016-17 academic year, an official release stated.
Mr. Panneerselvam also launched a free dhoti and saree scheme as part of the Pongal festivities. About 1.62 crore sarees and 1.62 crore dhotis would be handed out to eligible beneficiaries at a cost of ₹486.36 crore under this scheme.
Meanwhile, a team of AIADMK Ministers is scheduled to meet Piyush Goyal, the Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, in New Delhi after Pongal.
Stalin meets OPS
DMK working president and Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin met Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Wednesday to discuss the pressing issues of farmers’ suicides and the prevailing drought situation in the State. He also urged the State government to make efforts to ensure the conduct of jallikattu this Pongal.
“Over 90 farmers have died so far due to the drought and more farmers are dying with each passing day. We have not received sufficient water from the Cauvery river and the monsoon failure has led to a drought in the State. The affected farmers should be compensated by the government,” Mr. Stalin told mediapersons after the meeting.