When the State government has no money or sources, from where would they earmark funds for the Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar river linking project, asked former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram in Sivaganga on Sunday.
Addressing a booth-level Congress workers’ meeting in Tirupuvanam, he said that at least if the Tamil Nadu government had completed a portion of the project by now, the people may have welcomed and appreciated the rulers. Sitting idle for the last nine years, the government appeared to have woken up now, he charged.
The Congress leader said that the project cost was around ₹14.120 crore. “Where is the money? When are they going to start? When is the project going to see the light?” he continued to ask went on shooting questions.
The people of Tamil Nadu shall wait and watch, from where they are going to earmark funds for the Cauvery project in the interim budget to be tabled in the Assembly in the next few days.
He said that for the same project, the former Chief Minister Kamaraj, in 1958, had announced an outlay of ₹ 189 crore then. Subsequently, the former CM Karunanidhi had laid a foundation stone, according to DMK president M. K. Stalin. In that case, why is the AIADMK government again laying foundation stone, Mr. Chidambaram asked.
Mr. Chidambaram said that when the country was reeling under severe financial crisis, the Centre and State governments indulged in wasteful expenditure. He charged that in COVID-19 times, instead of giving financial support to the needy workers, the government was announcing operation of bullet trains. Spending ₹1,000 crore or more on such a project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad was not required for a country like India. “Why should the people go in a train at 130 km speed…Why not travel in a 80-km speed train,” he asked.
When even cities like New Delhi and Mumbai did not have eight lanes, why should there be an eight lane highway between Salem and Chennai. Six lanes would be sufficient. The State government should not take over fertile lands by force from the farmers for such projects.
The Tamil Nadu government was acting to the diktats of the BJP government at Centre, he alleged and charged that the AIADMK was ‘benami’ of the BJP. The people would throw them out of power soon, he predicted.