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Second phase of free land scheme begins

Staff Reporter

Pattas handed over to 887 poor landless families

PROUD OWNER: Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam (right) distributing patta to a beneficiary in Salem on Sunday. Collector N. Mathivanan is seen. - Photo: P. Goutham

SALEM: Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam handed over pattas of 593.05 acres of wasteland under the second phase of the two-acre free land scheme to 887 poor landless agriculture families at a function held here on Sunday. Addressing the function, the Minister said that about 26,000 acres of wasteland was being distributed to the selected beneficiaries in the second phase of the scheme in the State.

Listing out the achievements of the Government, Mr. Arumugam called upon the people to take full advantage of the Government schemes to improve their socio-economic condition. He also distributed welfare assistance worth Rs. 7.33 lakh to 117 beneficiaries under various schemes during the function.

Collector N. Mathivanan, in his presidential address, said that in the first phase of the free land scheme, a total of 541.76 acres of wasteland was distributed to 702 beneficiaries in the district in September. Besides, the district administration had improved 1154.88 acres of the patta wastelands, benefiting 864 poor farmers. He said that the district administration had ensured effective implementation of various schemes. More than 3.30 lakh students were being provided two eggs a week in the district. Monthly financial assistance had been provided to 4,100 pregnant women under the Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Maternity Benefit Scheme. Steps were being taken to organise 438 special medical camps in various parts of the district in the next two years under the `Varummun Kappom' scheme, he said.

Mayor J. Rekha Priyadarshini and Corporation Commissioner A.M. Selvam also spoke. District Revenue Officer M. Rajarathinam welcomed. Senior revenue officials and MLAs participated in the function.

Earlier, the police received an anonymous call threatening that a bomb had been planted in Nehru Kalaiyarangam, the venue of the function. The threat, however, turned out to be a hoax.

Participating at the Pensioners Day organised by the Tamil Nadu Retired Officers Association here, the minister said that he would take up with the Chief Minister the demand of pensioners that medical assistance be raised to Rs. 100 from Rs. 50.

He said that efforts were being taken to open a special ward for the aged in the government hospitals located in the headquarters of all the districts. Steps were being taken to upgrade the Salem Government Medical College Hospital into a super speciality hospital at a cost of Rs. 120 crore. The existing buildings used for the taluk office, superintendent of police office, prison for the women and consumer court near the GH would be handed over for the establishment of the super speciality hospital. When the pensioners said that the government should facilitate them to open joint bank account with their spouses, the minister assured them that he would initiate necessary steps in this regard.

Association State President Masilamani, district president Ganesa sankar and secretary Chellappan were present.

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