Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami showered encomiums on the former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj hailing him as a visionary leader who laid the foundation for education in Tamil Nadu.

Speaking at the ‘Kalvi Tiruvizha,’ organised by Nadar Mahajana Sangam here on Sunday to mark the 116th birth anniversary of the late leader, he said it was Kamraj who introduced the noon-meal scheme in schools to improve enrolment and ensure that the children did not go hungry. He said the scheme was upgraded subsequently by late Chief Ministers M.G. Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa. He added that the scheme became a model for the country.

He credited Kamaraj for bringing tremendous progress in education, agriculture, industry and irrigation projects, which were vital for a State’s development. He said that he was not only a great administrator but also a seasoned politician who earned the moniker ‘king maker’ for his crucial role in handling the leadership crisis in the Congress after Jawaharlal Nehru’s death.

He said that the successive AIADMK governments were following the footsteps of Kamaraj in providing importance to the education sector. “The present government has brought a number of reforms in the School Education Department.”

Stating that the State government had brought several infrastructure projects in Virudhunagar, he said that a Government dental college announced for southern district will come up in Virudhunagar district.

The Chief Minister conferred Lifetime Achievement Awards constituted by the Nadar Mahajana Sangam on former Speaker of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and veteran AIADMK leader P.H. Pandian, Gandhi Peravai founder and veteran Congress leader Kumari Ananthan and Tamizhar Desiya Iyakkam president Pazha Nedumaran. The award to Pazha Nedumaran was received by another person on his behalf since he did not come for the function.

G. Karikkolraj, general secretary, Nadar Mahajana Sangam, presented a set of demands to the Chief Minister including closing down all the TASMAC-run liquor shops every year on the birth anniversary of Kamaraj and representation for the Nadar community in the appointment of Vice-Chancellors.

Various ministers and elected representatives took part in the function.

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