Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palanisami on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and brought up the need for urgent-financial assistance to the drought-hit state, release of funds for rehabilitation work in the aftermath of the havoc caused by cyclone Vardah, and exemption for the state from the National Eligilibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). Mr Palanisami also pressed for the formation of a Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee for the implementation of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
Sources privy to developments said that Mr Palanisami, who arrived in the national capital on February 26, met the Prime Minister at 5.45 pm on Monday. The Tamil Nadu CM, who is on his first visit to Delhi after he took charge of the state on February 16, had earlier met Mr Modi on February 24 when the PM had visited Coimbatore to unveil a Shiva statue on the occasion of Shivaratri.
Senior AIADMK MPs and government officials also accompanied Mr Palaniswami during his visit. Though there was no official statement issued by the PMO regarding the details of the meeting, sources close to the CM said that the crucial issue of seeking protection of traditional fishing rights for Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and ensuring their safety was also brought to the notice of Mr Modi.
On the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Mr Palaniswami’s memorandum said, “Democratic decentralisation through the 13th amendment to the island Constitution should be the spring board for the self determination rights of Tamils, through which the Lankan Tamils could eventually realise the aspiraction of Tamil Eelam. Other demands included grant of dual citizenship for Lankan Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu, adoption of Tamil as an official language of the Union and use of Tamil in the high court of Madras.
The chief minister sought sanction of an annual special grant of `2,000 crore to compensate Tamil Nadu for the adverse treatment by the 14th finance commission and special allocation of funds for strengthening judicial infrastructure. Demanding early release of shortfalls in disbursement of share in central taxes as pointed out, he also wanted the grants pending in the 13th finance commission recommended grants.
AIADMK MLA Mr Palaniswami was entrusted with the chief ministership by party chief V K Sasikala, after she was convicted in a case related to disproportionate assets.
Amid chaos he had managed to win the confidence motion in the state assembly earlier this month, thus ending a 10-day long political uncertainty. The constitutional crisis had begun after caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam had revolted against Ms Sasikala.
Ultimately Mr Palaniswami received support of 122 MLAs of AIADMK and became the chief minister. Mr Modi in a telephonic conversation had congratulated him on taking over as chief minister of Tamil Nadu, soon after.