A representative photo of an ‘Amma canteen’ in Chennai.
A representative photo of an ‘Amma canteen’ in Chennai.

Also approves schemes for housing for poor  and setting up plants for potable drinking water

Chennai : Attending office for the first time in her fifth stint as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa on Sunday cleared a string of welfare proposals and declared open 201 more eateries under the populist ‘Amma Canteen’ scheme.

Getting down to the business of governance in the state where elections are due next year after being sworn in on Friday, Jayalalithaa cleared a slew of welfare schemes worth over Rs 1,800 crore, including those for improving road and drinking water facilities and extending assistance to indigent families headed by women.

Jayalalithaa, who arrived at the state secretariat at Fort St George for the first time after being out of power for eight months, signed five files approving the schemes.

“Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has ordered improvement of roads in urban local bodies at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore,” a state government release said.

The AIADMK chief also opened 201 more ‘Amma’ canteens, providing food at subsidised rates, across the state through video-conferencing.

Under a Rs 800-crore ‘Tamil Nadu Rural Roads Development Scheme’, a 3,500-km road stretch will be taken up for development this fiscal.

“The chief minister has given consent for a special housing scheme for the poor in town panchayat areas,” it said.

 An assistance of Rs 2.10 lakh will be given in a staggered manner to the poor to convert their thatched houses into concrete roofed structures with solar power. In the first phase, 20,000 families will be given assistance in town panchayat areas.

Giving a big push for drinking water facilities, 1,274 reverse osmosis plants will be set in residential neighbourhoods, Amma canteens, hospitals and public places at a cost of Rs 77.13 crore. This includes providing drinking water facilities in 69 neighbourhoods in the arid areas of Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts.

Under the scheme for indigent families headed by women, loans with a grant component on interest will be provided to eligible beneficiaries, alongside skill development training with employment opportunities. The government would spend between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 for the development of each beneficiary and the scheme is intended to cover all women-run indigent families in five years.

“While the total outlay for the scheme is Rs 750 crore, the chief minister has ordered the allocation of Rs 100 crore in the current fiscal for the scheme,” the release said.

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