To increase the average speed of travel, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin urged the Centre to create high-speed rail corridor in the State connecting Chennai, Coimbatore, Tuticorin and Madurai to each other and to the neighbouring states as well. This will reduce carbon footprint in line with India’s net zero ambitions and enhance the State’s economic prosperity.

Such a rail corridor would be economical, energy efficient and less polluting than other modes, he said while speaking at the 30th Southern Zonal Council Meeting held at Thiruvanathapuram on Saturday. The meeting was presided over by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“The Union Home Minister presiding over the event is commendable, and I view this meeting as positive to resolve the differences and thanked the Union Government,” he said.

On airport issue

On the issue of airport, Stalin said typically the State Governments acquire and transfer the land to Central PSUs/Airports Authority of India free of cost. If the Airports Authority of India/Government of India at a later date, transfers the assets to a third party, then the value realised must be proportionately shared with the State Government considering the huge investment made. Alternatively, the value of the lands should be converted as equity of the State Government through a Special Purpose Vehicle.

GST compensation

After GST introduction, the fiscal autonomy of State governments are largely restricted. Therefore, the compensation period must be extended up to two years. Disaster relief funds and others shall be released immediately, he said.

On mechanism formation for inking MoUs, Stalin said Consulates/Ministries/Agencies and sometimes even foreign countries want to sign MoU with the State Governments. However, there have been instances where necessary clearances/No Objection that have to be given by the Ministry of External Affairs getting delayed.

“I urge that a suitable simplified mechanism be formulated by the Government of India to allow the State Governments to enter into MoUs with other Countries/their Ministries/Agencies, especially in the sectors of investment promotion, strengthening academia-industry network,” he said.

Renewable energy

Speaking on the energy front, Stalin said Tamil Nadu has been a pioneer in promoting eco-friendly and non-exhaustive renewable energy source.

“I request the Union Home Minister that the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 may be withdrawn and the State-owned Distribution Licensees be allowed to continue supply quality power at affordable rates,” he said.

The Raigarh-Pugalur-Trissur 800 Kilo Watt HVDC system may be declared as an asset of national and strategic importance to avoid tariff shock to Southern Regional States. For under-drawal limit up to 500 Mega Watt, the renewable energy rich state may be benefited by receiving the amount from pool account at 100 per cent of normal rate, he said.

It may be insisted for carrying out the annual overhauling program and refuelling of nuclear power plants during the wind season (June & July) only for better renewable energy integration.

Tamil Nadu has the highest offshore wind potential of 27 Giga Watt and the State government is willing to procure all the power generated. “As the allocation blocks for offshore wind energy is with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, I request action may be expedited for the allocation,” he said.