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Thursday, August 02, 2001

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Secessionism will be firmly dealt with: CM

By Suresh Nambath

CHENNAI, AUG. 1. Identifying law and order as an area of the highest priority for the State Government, the Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa, today promised to put down anti-national and secessionist groups with an iron hand.

In her inaugural address to the conference of Collectors and Police Officers here, she said bringing extremist elements under control was among the major tasks of the new government.

Criticising the previous Government for having allowed the forest brigand, Veerappan, and his gang to have gone about unchallenged in the past five years, she said ``there has also been proliferation of extra-legal and extra-constitutional forces, enjoying the patronage of the powers that were, who have been indulging in unlawful activities and intimidating law- abiding citizens.''

Reiterating her Government's commitment to restore Tamil Nadu to the number one position in the country, she said this could not fructify unless law and order was well maintained in the State. ``The district administration is therefore required to take firm and resolute steps to contain the nefarious activities of anti- social elements to ensure peace and tranquility.''

Claiming that there was a lack of focus, direction and thrust in various important spheres of the Government, she asked the department secretaries to arrest the trend of leaving things to drift.

Referring to caste and communal clashes, she said these should not be viewed purely as a problem of maintenance of law and order. ``The approach to this serious problem has to be founded on a proper understanding of the root cause and an understanding of the social and economic issues which need to be addressed and resolved.''

The Chief Minister added that she had directed the departments of rural development, municipal administration and adi-dravidar and tribal welfare to take action for the integrated and coordinated development of people in the problem areas in consultation with the Collectors.

Although successive governments had been implementing various programmes for providing basic amenities and infrastructural facilities to the people, ``we have to admit that the needs of the rural people are yet to be fully met and that where facilities have been provided, they are not to the satisfactory level.''

Pointing out that there were cases where expenditure had not reached the intended beneficiaries, she said ``the quality of assets created and the services provided need constant review.''

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