Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami on Sunday submitted a letter to the Prime Minister on a slew of issues concerning the state, including the conferment of Bharat Ratna on former Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and CN Annadurai. The Prime Minister was in Madurai on Sunday to inaugurate the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He also reiterated that the Chennai Central Railway Station be renamed as 'Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MGR Ramachandran Central Railway Station'.
The Bharat Ratna is awarded in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order in any field. The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister.
This is not the first time the state government has recommended that the Bharat Ratna be conferred on the former CM. In late 2016, a PIL had been filed with the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to the central government to posthumously award the Bharat Ratna to Jayalalithaa. This petition was dismissed by the court in early 2017. In August last year, it was also recommended following the AIADMK Executive Committee meet that Jayalalithaa, former CM CN Annadurai and rationalist thinker Periyar be awarded the Bharat Ratna.
In addition to this, the CM also pressed the Prime Minister to withdraw the permission given by CWC to the Government of Karnataka for preparation of Detailed Project Report for Mekedatu Project. Similarly, the Chief Minister also requested the Centre to withdraw permission granted to Kerala for conducting study on the construction of the new Mullaperiyar Dam and for restoring the water level to 152 feet.
He also asked the Centre to withhold the process of legislation on the Dam Safety Bill in addition to seeking improvements and rehabilitation of irrigation systems in the Cauvery Basin for efficient irrigation management under AIBP (Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program) for the modernisation of the Cauvery. The state also sought long term mitigation and permanent restoration and a revision of the norms for scale of assistance under SDRF norms in reference to Cyclone Gaja that struck the coastal and delta districts of Tamil Nadu in November last year.
With the state capital having faced repeated environmental disasters in recent years, the government also asked for permanent flood mitigation / management measures for Chennai.
Under permanent cyclonic mitigation measures for the fishermen of Tamil Nadu, the CM sought a permanent naval station for carrying out operations by Indian Navy and Indian coast Guard and communication equipment for sea going fishermen.
In addition to this, the CM asked for special assistance towards compensation for the â€śunfair treatment meted out by 14th Finance Commission to the state of Tamil Naduâ€ť, which effectively penalises states that have managed to control their population, disadvantaging the southern states. Asking for early clearance of Climate Change Projects for funding under Green Climate Fund (GCF) and National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) by Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change, the CM also called for the release of the second instalment of Basic and Performance Grant for the year 2017-18 and the first instalment of Basic Grant for the year 2018-19 to Local Bodies. The CM also reminded the Centre on pending Grants-in-Aid for major schemes, settlement of Integrated GST due to the state for the last two years and compensation for Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In a new initiative, the Chief Minister called for the promotion of an industrial estate at the vacant lands in Salem Steel Plant by setting up an industrial hub for defence products. Along with a request to reconstruct the 60: 40 sharing pattern for Post-Metric scholarships, the state government also asked the Centre to "Save the employment of 8 lakh people in Fireworks Industry in Tamil Nadu."
Under the UDAN scheme, the CM requested flight operations to Hosur, Neyveli and Ramanathapuram and evening flight service to Salem. He also asked for the establishment of a new medical college at Ramanathapuram District under centrally-sponsored schemes. Even as backlash had grown over the shutting down of central institutions in the state, the CM requested the continuation of these research stations and institutes.
With regard to the Chennai Metro Rail, the CM sought the sanction of Phase II on a 50:50 joint venture partnership basis between the Centre and the state. Tamil Nadu also requested the Centre to permit REPCO Bank, a cooperative society, to continue taking deposits, excusing it from revised central bank guidelines.