TN to distribute another 40 lakh colour TV sets

Scheme has cost govt Rs 2,037 cr so far

The ‘free colour TV scheme’, centre-piece of the DMK’s election manifesto for the 2006 Assembly polls which enabled it to return to power in alliance with the Congress in the State, in the initial four phases has already cost the Government a staggering Rs 2,037 Crores.

While the State has given free colour television sets to over 85.15 lakh families across the State, its original target audience of poor families which did not have a colour TV, has been liberally overshot to include virtually all category of households.
A High Power Committee of leaders of various political parties represented in the Assembly, to oversee the implementation of this scheme met here on Thursday at the Secretariat when it was decided to take forward this largesse into its fifth phase to cover another 40 lakh households in the State. The Committee, chaired by the DMK President and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, also decided to procure an additional 8,37,500 colour television sets under the on-going fourth phase of the scheme.

Global tenders

Global tenders for these fresh procurements including the fifth phase, will be floated this month and the bids, after technical and price evaluations, will be finalised by the third week of December.

Starting from February 2010, the Government will distribute the colour TVs to beneficiaries and it hopes to complete it by December next year. The DMK by committing itself to this time-line has indirectly ruled out an early general election to the State Assembly, otherwise due in April-May 2011.

However, right from its inception, the main Opposition AIADMK led by Ms Jayalalithaa and the Vaiko-headed MDMK have boycotted this committee, alleging the scheme to be a “fraudulent populous scheme”. The PMK which recently snapped ties with the AIADMK also kept away from Thursday’s meeting.

The DMK has announced the further expansion of the before the Election Commission is to notify the dates for the two Assembly by-elections from Tiruchendur and Vandavasi, amid criticisms that in several places beneficiaries sold their ‘gift TVs’ at a good price to agents who resold them to tea shop owners and hoteliers in neighbouring States like Kerala.

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