The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday , reiterated its position that the Centre is biased against Tamil Nadu. The State’s Finance Minister, Thangam Thennarasu, blamed the Centre for not approving the Chennai Metro Rail project’s second phase and for not providing funds for natural calamities, “while other States have got it.” Thenarasu made the same point while presenting the State’s budget for 2024-25, on February 19.

The phase 2 of the Chennai Metro Rail Project, built at a cost of ₹63,246 crore, is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country. The Centre contributed its share towards implementation of the first phase of the Chennai Metro Rail project. The State government had approved the project in the hope that the Centre would approve 50 per cent of its contribution for the second phase of the project.

The Public Investment Board (PIB) gave its approval on August 17, 2021 but the Centre has not yet approved the second phase. Thus, the State has to bear the entire cost of the phase 2 work, the minister had said. However, the Centre gave its approval for the phase 2 work of Nagpur Metro and Kochi Metro in 2022 and had approved the Gurugram and Pune metro rail projects in 2023, he said.

“Due to this unfair practice, the State government has incurred additional expenditure of ₹9,000 crore this year and will incur ₹12,000 crore next year,” he said.

The minister said the State contributes heavily to the projects that the Indian government claims to be its own. For instance, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), the cost per unit is ₹1.2 lakh. Of this, ₹72,000 is the share of the Centre and ₹48,000 is of the State. However, since this fund is not sufficient, the State government has been providing an additional ₹1.2 lakh per house as ‘Additional Roofing Cost’. So in total, out of ₹2.4 lakh per unit, the Centre’s share is ₹72,000 while that of the State Government is ₹1,68,000, he said. “They give only 30 per cent and boast about the scheme calling it the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana,” he said.

Disaster management

With regards disaster management, the minister said cyclone Michuang caused heavy damage in Chennai and surrounding districts. The State government has urging the Centre to provide ₹19,689 crore as a relief fund to Tamil Nadu for the rehabilitation of this damage. Further, southern districts like Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Tenkasi were badly affected due to the recent funds. For this, the State had requested the Centre to provide a sum of ₹18,214 crore for temporary and permanent renovation works. While the Centre has not provided any funds, the State government has undertaken various relief assistance from its own funds, he said.

On the other hand, States like Gujarat, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar were provided relief funds when there were natural calamities there, he said.

On the state-owned electricity utility, Tangedco, the minister said the Centre is acting in a way that is affecting Tamil Nadu’s financial situation by imposing unreasonably stringent conditions.

In one such condition, the State government has been mandated to provide ₹17,117 crore for loss funding to Tangdeco in the current year, failing which an equivalent amount will be deducted from the borrowing ceiling fixed by the Centre. Further, a sum of ₹14,442 crore has to be provided for loss funding in the next year. “Due to failure of the Centre to fulfil its obligations, the deficit and debt of Tamil Nadu has increased,” he said