Jayalalithaa writes off farm loans, orders free power

Chennai: Soon after assuming office for the sixth time, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Monday signed orders writing off farm loans, and free power for first 100 units for domestic consumers and 750 units for handloom weavers -- to fulfill her poll promises. Orders were also issued to reduce the working time of government owned liquor shops, and to give away eight gram of gold in marriages of poor girls. In a statement here, the government said Jayalalithaa signed the orders to waive off the farm loans, medium- and long-term loans from cooperative banks. The financial impact for the government will be Rs.5,780 crore, the statement said. She also signed the orders to offer free power to domestic users up to first 100 units. The government would provide an additional subsidy of Rs.1,607 crore to the power utility per year for this. Jayalalithaa also passed orders to provide eight gram gold -- earlier four gram gold -- to poor girls on their marriage. The ruling AIADMK also promised phased implementation of liquor prohibition in the state. Liquor is retailed in Tamil Nadu by a state government undertaking popularly known as Tasmac outlet. Jayalalithaa passed orders to close down 500 liquor outlets in the state and curtail the working hours of these outlets. According to new order, liquor shops will be open between 12 noon and 10 p.m. Earlier, these shops functioned between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.