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Free TVs feasible: DMK chief

Earlier, Karunanidhi had spoken of giving a colour TV each to homes that didn't have one, reports GC Shekhar.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 13:34 IST
GC Shekhar

Ridiculed for his promise of free colour televisions, cheap rice and land, DMK chief Karunanidhi on Wednesday explained this was no half-baked scheme, but a well thought out plan that he would implement, if voted to power. He even laid out how he proposed to go about it.

First, the Rs 2 per kilo rice scheme. Speaking at the launch of his alliance's poll campaign, Karunanidhi pointed out that 1.5 crore families were getting 20 kilos of ration rice at Rs 3.50 every month.

By lowering the price to Rs 2, the state would incur an additional expenditure of only Rs 540 crore. No big deal in a Rs 30,000 budget.

On hooking up 156 lakh BPL families with colour TVs, the DMK chief said 53 lakh lucky families would receive television sets in the first phase, at a cost of Rs 1,060 crore.

Never mind the fact that most of these families don't have proper homes, or electricity for that matter.

Earlier, Karunanidhi had spoken of giving a colour TV each to homes that didn't have one.

According to a market study, of a total of 170 lakh families in the state, 130 lakh have TVs but only 70 lakh are colour.

In that case, the DMK would have to give away 100 lakh colour TVs.

Even according to Karunanidhi's math, the total bill would exceed Rs 2,000 crore.

Similarly, the promise of 2 acres of land for the landless would be met by distributing 55 lakh acres of arid land under the control of the state government, Karunanidhi explained.

Even if some people are still not quite convinced, the DMK chief has found support in state CPM leader Varadarajan, who said it took great courage to announce such a scheme and back it up with the assurance that it would form part of the DMK-led government's first budget.