Chennai: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday wound up his two-day Tamil Nadu visit, during which he inaugurated the 125th birth anniversary of mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and discussed with state leaders the Mullaperiyar Dam row as well as financial aid and additional power.
Landing here Sunday evening, Manmohan Singh met Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa the same day and DMK president M.Karunanidhi Monday morning.
While the discussions with Jayalalithaa the Mullaperiyar Dam issue as well as additional central financial assistance and allocation of power to Tamil Nadu, Manmohan Singh also discussed the dam row with Karunanidhi.
Both the Tamil leaders submitted memorandums, urging the prime minister to advise Kerala to abide by the Supreme Court decision allowing the water storage level of thedam to be raised to 142 ft from the current 136 ft.
While details of the discussions between the prime minister and Jayalalithaa are not known, the DMK in a statement issued here said that the prime minister assured Karunanidhi that the central government would consider the demand for providing security to Mullaperiyar Dam.
The Central Industrial Security Force cover for the dam has been a major demand of all political parties in Tamil Nadu.
In her memorandum, Jayalalithaa also demanded safety of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay, extending financial assistance to the state, exempting the state from the National Food Security Bill and allocation of coal supplies to the planned power projects, among others.
But her memorandum was silent on the ongoing row over the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tirunelveli district, 650 km from Chennai, where the two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors being built by the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) with Russian assistance have been stalled following protests by local villagers.
However, citing the delay in the commissioning of the 2,000 MW KNPP and Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd's 500 MW project, Jayalalithaa asked for additional allocation of 1,000 MW from the central pool.
During his official engagements, Manmohan Singh expressed concern at Ramanujan's 125th birth anniversary function that young minds with a natural ability for mathematics were not pursuing the discipline at an advanced level, resulting in a 'decline in the quality of maths teachers at the school and college level'.
He said the general perception that pursuit of maths does not lead to attractive career possibilities 'may have been valid some years ago but today there are many new career opportunities available to mathematicians and the teaching profession itself has become much more attractive in recent years'.
A noted economist himself, Manmohan Singh said: 'The work of many of the Nobel laureates in Economics is highly mathematical.'
He declared 2012 as the National Mathematics Year and Dec 22, the day Ramanujan was born, as Mathematics Day.
Later, speaking at a function at Alagappa University at Karaikudi in Sivaganga district, Manmohan Singh said: 'We need to carry forward the legacy of great mathematicians like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and Ramanujan. This becomes especially important because mathematics is finding increasing use in the study of other disciplines.'
Inaugurating two private hospitals at Karaikudi - Apollo Reach Hospital and Vasan Eye Care Research Institute - the prime minister emphasised that 'private hospitals have an obligation to provide medical care at an affordable cost to the people; and it is also their social obligation to provide free medical care to some of the very poor'.
However, Manmohan Singh's two-day visit was not without any opposition.
Leader of Opposition in the assembly A.Vijayakant was held by police, along with hundreds of his DMDK party activists, for holding black-flag demonstration against the prime minister for his 'inaction' in the Mullaperiyar Dam row, the KNPP imbroglio and Cauvery water dispute with Karnataka.