Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DMK's scheme runs into scam / DMK's land-for-poor scheme runs into scam

In probably one of the biggest land scams exposed in Tamil Nadu, a Headlines Today investigation has found that under an ambitious scheme of the DMK government the plots meant for poor people were grabbed by greedy land sharks of the state.

The scheme was meant to help landless farmers of the state, but it turned into a Rs 200 crore scam. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had in 2006 announced the scheme under which over 2 lakh acre land was to be distributed equally among agricultural labourers of the state.

However, four years later, Headlines Today exposes how the promises made by the DMK government turned out to be a farce. The land earmarked for the poor has now been in the possession of the rich and the mighty.

Headlines Today travelled to Theni district of the state to unearth how deep the scam runs. The owner of one of such plots to be allotted to landless farmers came out to be a woman who ran an NGO and her husband has been a government school teacher. Kanmani, the beneficiary, claimed the produce from this land goes to her house. Excerpts:

Our Team: How did you get the land?
Kanmani: I got it under the 2 acre land scheme by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
Our Team: It is given to poor landless farmers. What do you do?
Kanmani: Yeah, but I run an NGO.
Our Team: What does your husband do?
Kanmani: He is a government school teacher.
Our Team: But this is meant for poor labourers both of you are working and earning money.
Kanmani: (Laughs... doesn't answer for a while.) But I was poor.

Headlines Today is in possession of documents that show Kanmani's name in the list of beneficiaries. This despite the fact that rules clearly state that beneficiary can only be a landless agricultural labourer.

Kanmani does not have the answer to the question on how she became the beneficiary of the scheme meant for the poor labourers. Kanmani is just not the only one. There are many such land sharks who have benefited from the DMK government's ambitious scheme supposed to help poor farmers of Tamil Nadu.

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