Jayalalithaa’s first two years in power see mixed results

Chennai, May 16 (IANS) Two years after she stormed into Fort St.George, the seat of power in Tamil Nadu, with a massive victory, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has a mixed bag of results to show so far.

Forcing the central government to gazette the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal by filing a case in the Supreme Court, distributing relief to farmers in the drought-hit areas; urging retrieval of the Katchatheevu islet from Sri Lanka; and setting up of Amma Canteen (budget canteen) selling food at subsidised rates are said to be some of the achievements of Jayalalithaa government.

THE AIADMK government has also fulfilled most of its election promises with free fan and mixie-grinder given to six million families at an outlay of Rs.3,370 crore and free laptops distributed to around 1.66 million students involving an expenditure of Rs.2,766 crore.

However, the power problem plaguing the state remains a big challenge, while the steep hike in prices of essential items is said to be one of the negative points against the AIADMK’s two year rule.

“It has been a challenging period for Jayalalithaa and she has overcome the challenges meritoriously. In the case of Cauvery water issue with Karnataka or the Mullaperiyar Dam dispute with Kerala, Jayalalithaa has notched up success,” D. Pandian, state secretary of Communist Party of India, told IANS.

He said apart from its two “unfriendly neighbours” Karnataka and Kerala, nature too turned unfriendly towards Tamil Nadu as the monsoon failed.

“There are around 11 states that are suffering from severe drought. But only Tamil Nadu has started distributing relief measures to farmers. While Tamil Nadu has declared all its districts other than Chennai as drought hit, other states are keeping silent,” Pandian said.

Jayalalithaa’s handling of the water situation drew praise.

“It will not be wrong to term Jayalalithaa as the ‘water goddess’ of Tamil Nadu as her rain water harvesting and the Veeranam water scheme solved the water problem in Chennai. She has announced two more desalination project to quench Chennai’s water needs. Further it was she who was instrumental in getting the Cauvery Tribunal award gazetted by the centre,” R. Shanthi, a public sector employee, told IANS.

Observers noted that the state government is yet to manage the power problem.

“The DMK government was voted out in 2011 mainly due to shortage of electricity and law and order problem. The Jayalalithaa government was expected to solve the power shortage problem in a year’s time… (but) there is a massive power cut across the state,” political analyst Gnani told IANS.

On the law and order front also there is some sort of divergence in Jayalalithaa government’s philosophy, Gnani said.

“While the government booked PMK leaders for instigating violence, thousands of cases have been registered against the anti-Kudankulam activists protesting against the nuclear power plant in a peaceful manner for the past two years. The Supreme Court has urged the state to look at the possibility of withdrawing those cases against the anti-nuclear activists,” he said.

Rising prices of essential items continued to rank against the government.

While agreeing with the contention, Pandian said the government’s Rs.20 per kg rice scheme is one measure to tame the inflation.

The state government has however blamed the central government for allowing the oil marketing companies to fix the fuel prices. Terming the oil pricing formula as wrong, Jayalalithaa had said that her government would approach the courts on the issue.

The government also announced a Rs.100 crore price stabilisation fund to control open market prices.

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