Tamil Nadu CM Stalin says cases against Chennai-Salem expressway protesters will be dropped

CHENNAI: Speaking during the motion of thanks to Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s address earlier, Chief Minister MK Stalin said.

Police cases filed against people who protested the Chennai-Salem eight-lane expressway, the neutrino project in Theni and the Cauvery delta coal-bed methane extraction project will be dropped.

The state government will continue to use the term ‘Union government’.

All police cases filed during the previous AIADMK rule against people who protested in a democratic manner against the Salem-Chennai Expressway, Koodankulam nuclear plant, methane exploration-extraction, and Neutrino observatory projects would be withdrawn.

Similarly, those against media, the three farm laws and the Citizenship Amendment Act shall also be dropped, Stalin announced.
He said already cases in connection with protests against Vedanta’s Sterlite unit in Tuticorin have been withdrawn.

New Periyar memorial egalitarian neighbourhoods (Periyar Ninaivu Samathuvapuram, where people belonging to all communities live) would come up and 240 such settlements set up during the previous DMK rule shall be refurbished.

Recalling that his party’s manifesto had assured Rs 1,000 crore for renovation of temples, he said in the first phase, at a cost of Rs 100 crore, a hundred temples would be renovated and the initiative is inclusive of aspects like repairing temple tanks and cars.

Improving the fiscal position is his priority and in the eventuality of a third wave of coronavirus, the government is prepared to tackle it, he said.
“There should not be a third wave of the virus, but if it was to emerge, the government is prepared to tackle it.”

On May 7, when the DMK took over the reins of government, the number of fresh cases were about 26,000 and it soon crossed 36,000.
However, in view of the government’s efforts on a war-footing, it has now gradually fell below the 7,000 mark and it would soon reduce further, he said.

Listing initiatives, he said due to the efforts made to create awareness, the vaccination drive got converted into
“people’s movement.”

In the past 47 days after his government took over, 65 lakh vaccine doses have been administered and this was twice higher than doses taken by the people earlier, he said.

Reading out statistics, he blamed the previous AIADMK government for not containing the spread of the second wave from February to April, and wanted the AIADMK to own responsibility for it.

“It is a very wrong argument to say that the virus spread was contained by the AIADMK regime.”

Targeting opposition AIADMK for claiming that the Governor’s Address has nothing, he listed assurances found in it, like initiatives for bringing industries in northern districts, a separate budget for agriculture, satellite townships and so on.

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