Modi on Stage, CM Stalin Pitches for Tamil, Demands it be Declared Official Language at Centre

Amid a debate over Hindi and linguistic diversity in the country, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday said Tamil should be announced as the official language at Union government offices and the Madras High Court.

The chief minister made the remark during a speech welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival in Chennai. “This is the first govt event that PM Modi is participating in Tamil Nadu after the DMK government took charge. I express my welcome and gratitude to the Prime Minister,” he said.

The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation 5 projects worth over Rs 2,960 crore, in the presence of Governor R N Ravi, Union Minister L Murugan and Chief Minister M K Stalin.

Stalin sought a raise in funding for the state and outlined that Tamil Nadu’s growth is unique as it is based not merely on economic parameters but on the ‘Dravidian model’ of inclusive growth. He said such infrastructure projects are important for the growth of Tamil Nadu and the state is already a pioneer in the country across several sectors. “The schemes that are being inaugurated today are extremely important for the state. We are ahead in education, health, economy etc. The role of Tamil Nadu in the growth story of India is very important,” he said.

Stalin said Tamil Nadu’s growth trajectory is unique as it is not only about economic growth, but it’s about all-inclusive growth driven by social justice, equality, and women empowerment, which is the ‘Dravidian model’.

He also called for the “retrieval” of Katchatheevu, a 163-acre uninhabited island ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. He also sought the fishing rights of the Indian fishermen.

The Chief Minister said the GST compensation period must be extended beyond June 2022 for another two years. Noting the anti-NEET bill has been passed and sent to the President, staling urged PM Modi to ensure that the bill gets assent.

Emphasising on cooperative federalism, Stalin demanded that the Central government enhance funding for Tamil Nadu projects.

Quoting former Chief Minister Karunanidhi, Stalin said, “We will extend a hand of friendship and at the same time we will raise our voices for our rights.”

Speaking about the language debate, the chief minister said Tamil should be announced as the official language at Union government offices and the Madras High Court. “Tamil should be considered equal to Hindi,” he added.

PM launches Schemes, Lay Foundation Stone for Projects in TN

Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of 6 projects, worth over Rs 28,000 crore. The 262 km long Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway would be built at a cost of over Rs 14,870 crore. It would pass through the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and help reduce travel time between Bengaluru and Chennai by 2-3 hours.

The 4-lane double-decker elevated road connecting Chennai Port to Maduravoyal (NH-4), of about 21 km would be built at a cost of over Rs 5,850 crore ensuring round the clock movement of cargo vehicles to Chennai port. The 94 km long 4-lane Neraluru to Dharmapuri section of NH-844 and 31 km long 2-lane with paved shoulders of Meensurutti to Chidambaram section of NH-227, at a cost of around Rs 3870 crore and Rs 720 crore respectively, would help provide seamless connectivity in the region.

The PM also laid the foundation stone of a Multi-Modal Logistic Park in Chennai worth around Rs 1430 crore. It would provide seamless intermodal freight movement and also offer multiple functionalities. Quoting a couplet from Tamil classic Tirukkural, Union Minister L Murugan hailed Modi as a leader who has fulfilled his assurances perfectly in sync with the promises made.

Rousing Welcome

The Tamil Nadu BJP gave a rousing reception to Modi, who is on his maiden visit to the state after the ruling DMK government assumed office in May 2021.

BJP supporters hailed Modi by raising slogans like ‘Modi ji Vaazhga,’ (Long live Modi) and DMK cadres welcomed Chief Minister M K Stalin by showering praise on him and raised slogans including ‘Thanga Thalapathi Vaazhga’ (Long live our commander with a golden heart).

(With inputs from PTI)

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