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Stalin meets PM; seeks Centre’s nod for providing humanitarian aid to Lankan Tamils

- March 31, 2022

New Delhi/Chennai, Mar 31

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and M K Stalin on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and sought the Centre’s approval for the state government to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lankan Tamils in the wake of an economic crisis in that country.

Stalin gave a detailed memorandum on various issues, including those related to the economic crisis in the island nation, during his meeting with Modi.

Referring to adversities being faced by Lankan Tamils, he said many of them embarked on a “perilous journey” to Tamil Nadu due to unaffordable prices of essential commodities there and they are lodged in a transit camp in the state.

The memorandum noted that more people may be arriving in the state due to worsening economic condition in Sri Lanka.

In this juncture, it added, the Tamil Nadu government is willing to provide essential commodities and life saving medicines to Sri Lankan Tamils living in northern and eastern part of that country as well as those working in plantation sector, who are reeling under severe food crisis, as a life saving measure and help them, especially vulnerable group of women and children.

“It is requested to accord necessary permission to undertake the benevolent activity,” it said

Earlier in the day, he also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the Parliament.

Welcoming Stalin to Delhi, Gandhi went to meet him in the DMK office in Parliament and said she came to say ‘Vanakkam’ to him and will meet him again during his party office inauguration in the national capital on April 2.

Stalin greeted her with a shawl. The DMK chief is on a three-day visit to the national capital and is scheduled to meet several top leaders.

DMK is inaugurating its party office in the national capital on April 2 and has invited leaders from various parties including the BJP and the Congress, the party MP Kanimozhi said.

Raising the issues concerning Tamil Nadu fishermen with Modi, Stalin urged the Centre to arrange for fishermen level talks between India and Sri Lanka, which was not held since 2016, to resolve frequent arrests and detention of the men and seizure of fishing crafts besides ask Lanka to stop arresting the Tamil Nadu fishers.

Retrieving Katchatheevu, ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974, and thereby restoring the traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay area alone would ensure a lasting solution to the vexatious problem, he said.

On Karnataka government’s Mekedatu project across the Cauvery, Stalin requested the Prime Minister to direct the Ministry of Jal Shakti not to give its nod for the project or for any new reservoir project of that state in the Cauvery basin.

The Cauvery Water Management Authority should be told to disapprove the Mekedatu project and Karnataka asked not to take up any new project construction without Tamil Nadu’s prior consent.

Opining that the National Education Policy, 2020, may be revoked, he said in the memorandum that any attempt to make a third language mandatory or to make a socially unfamiliar language like Sanskrit as a compulsory option as envisaged in the NEP will become an imposition and put the students of Tamil Nadu at a serious disadvantage.

“Tamil Nadu will therefore continue to follow the two language policy (of Tamil and English) which is in practice now,” he said.

“An education policy should be in tune with the economic policy of the government,” he said in the memorandum and claimed that states concerned should be given complete freedom to take steps in a manner that is based on the socio-cultural moorings of the state.

Allowing Tamil Nadu government to fill all professional seats including MBBS / BDS/ AYUSH courses on basis of Class XII marks alone, ensuring about 2,000 medical students who returned from Ukraine owing to the raging crisis, to pursue their education in the state, providing a preferential allotment to Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor and allocate the test facilities to the Corridor, establishing two DRDO labs in TN Defence Corridor nodes, providing excess land of Salem Steel Plant for Defence Industrial Park, laying 11 km railway line to Multi Modal Logistic Park (MMLP) at Mappedu were among the numerous demands.

He also sought steps to include Narikoravar / Kurivikkarar communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes of Tamil Nadu as envisaged under Article 342(1) and 342(2) of the Constitution of India at the earliest.