Fulfilling another major poll promise, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Tuesday announced that free gas connections and free gas stoves would be given to poor families from the ensuing Pongal (harvest festival) day on January 14 next year.
Addressing the public after hoisting the national flag at the historic St George Fort on the occasion of the 60th Independence Day, he said the scheme, estimated to cost Rs 150 crore, would be implemented continuously after its launch. The government would bear the cost of deposits for the gas connections under the scheme, apart from providing gas stoves free of cost, he said.
"The poor and downtrodden use firewood and kerosene stoves and women in these households experience hardship while cooking. To ameliorate their suffering and bring relief and happiness to them, arrangements have been proposed for providing free gas connections and also free gas stoves to these poor families", Karunanidhi said.
Karunanidhi said the government had decided to create software parks in cities like Madurai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli through the Information Technology Department.
Noting that he had already announced the launch of free colour television scheme from September 15, the birth anniversary of DMK founder CN Annadurai and land distribution scheme from September 17, the birth anniversary of social reformist and Dravidar Kazhagam founder EV Ramasamy Periyar, he said, "We have implemented most of the assurances in the manifesto. We have chalked out a time-bound action plan to fulfil the few remaining assurances".