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The need to improve infrastructure facilities in southern districts to facilitate industrial growth was highlighted at the two-day State conference of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 'Thamarai Sangamam,' which concluded here on Friday.A resolution passed at the conference pointed out that new industries were started only around Chennai and northern districts and the South felt neglected.Absence of industrial growth resulted in social problems.The conference appealed to the State government to give priority to infrastructure development in southern districts. To start with, the Nanguneri special economic zone should be activated and development of Colachel port taken up.More special economic zones should be started in the region without affecting the livelihood of people. The State should take up with the Centre the signing of bilateral agreements with several countries for operating international flights from the Madurai airport. Only when international connectivity was provided for Madurai would multinational companies come to invest in... Read more...
southern districts. Railway projects It expressed concern over the neglect of south Tamil Nadu in implementation of railway projects. The doubling of Chengalpet-Dindigul and Madurai-Nagercoil line; Virudhunagar-Aruppukottai-Manamadurai, Madurai-Theni-Bodinaickanur-Kottayam-Ernakulam, Madurai-Melur-Karaikudi and Bodinaickanur-Kumuli broad gauge line work should be expedited.By a resolution, the BJP argued that the Sethusamudram Ship Channel project could have been completed had the government opted for the fourth alignment that passed along the Kothandaramar Temple near Rameswaram.Instead, it chose the alignment that proposed to cut through the Ram Sethu (Adam's Bridge). The Union Government, it said, should declare the Adam's Bridge a national heritage structure in deference to the wishes of a majority of people.The conference highlighted the need for all political parties in Tamil Nadu to speak in one voice on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue and wanted the Union Government to ensure that the displaced people in the island nation were resettled in the houses being constructed by the Indian Government. The government should strongly condemn Sri Lanka's attempts to settle Sinhala people in Tamil areas and its inaction in resettling Tamils in their own areas. Reconsider freebies The conference appealed to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government to reconsider the distribution of freebies to people for short-term political gains. It was unfortunate power cut continued to haunt the State though the AIADMK gave an assurance during the election campaign that it would find a solution to the power crisis within six months of assuming office. The government should initiate steps on a war footing to tide over the power deficit and bring back industrial units to life. It called for bold steps from the government to protest the rights of farmers in the Cauvery, Periyar and Palar water issues. The support price for sugarcane should be increased to Rs. 2,500 per tonne and to Rs. 1,500 per quintal of paddy. Resolution A resolution urged the State government to fix a timeframe for retrieval of temple properties from encroachers and collection of pending dues from occupants. Immediate steps were required to renovate ancient temples that were in a dilapidated state. It appealed to the government to close down all liquor shops run by the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation in order to retrieve people from drunkenness and make Tamil Nadu a productive State. It felt that there would be no need to depend on TASMAC liquor shops for revenue if the government chose to do away with freebies. By other resolutions, the conference called for the starting of skill development centres for youth in all districts and an IAS Academy in Madurai to train Civil Services aspirants.