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Stalin demands restoration of states' rights


Chennai: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M.K. Stalin here on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the rights of states by amending the Constitution and also listed several other issues needing Centre's intervention.

In a memorandum to Modi, Stalin said, "States are integral and indispensable partners in the development narrative of the country, and and states' rights reflect the true well being of our federal structure."

Stating that the Constitution envisioned a healthy Centre-state relationship, Stalin said it was built on mutual respect and trust.

"Unfortunately, over the past 70 years, the states' rights have gradually weakened. Today, states are left with greatly reduced law-making powers. The DMK, therefore, demands suitable amendments to the Constitution to accord rights to states in the true spirit of federalism," he said.

The memorandum was handed over to Modi by a delegation of DMK members of Parliament.

On Sri Lankan Tamils, Stalin said he was shocked to read an interview of Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who said it was not possible to devolve powers as promised under the 13th Amendment to Lankan Constitution against the wishes of the majority (Sinhala) community.

"It's a matter of grave concern that an elected leader is viewing his lawful citizens on the basis of majority and minority. It's widely reported that Sri Lankan military has been pressed into services in the traditional Tamil areas and signboards in Tamil are being erased," Stalin said.

He urged New Delhi to protect the Lankan Tamils and their constitutional rights to allow them to live with dignity, and urgent steps to prevent attacks on the Indian fishermen by the Lankan navy.

Urging the central government to drop its plans to privatise the Salem Steel Plant in Tamil Nadu, Stalin urged Modi to scrap the Centre-backed projects that affected farmers and environment, like the Neutrino Observatory project.

Stalin also asked Modi to ensure proper safety measures at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project as promised by the Centre to the Supreme Court.

He also urged the Centre's intervention in the water disputes with Karnataka and Kerala, and demanded passage of the law reserving 33 per cent seats in Parliament and Assemblies.

Demanding immediate release of Tamil Nadu's share of the goods and services tax (GST) and other dues amounting to Rs 7,825 crore, Stalin said the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission was prejudicial to the interests of the state and its fiscal autonomy.

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