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In line with its election promise, the AIADMK government announced a new scheme under which laptops would be distributed to students and livestock to farmers free of cost. However, the Government’s eagerness to speedily implement these welfare schemes has resulted in an awful goof up: A senior bureaucrat (name withheld on request) erroneously mixed up the files of the two schemes, resulting in over 50,000 laptops being delivered to farmer households while an equal number of milch cattle were delivered to colleges across 12 districts in southern Tamil Nadu.
Students of the Tiruchirapalli Institute of Technology and Science (TITS) looked on dumbfounded as government officials shepherded healthy milch cows into their hostels and tethered the animals outside their dorm rooms. The presence of the bovines on college campuses has adversely impacted academics and pedagogy. Most students, however, seem thrilled with their new ‘possessions’. “It is cho cute! Looks a bit like superstar Vijay, doesn’t it?” gushed Tamizhselvi, 2nd year engineering student of Avinash Lingam deemed University in Coimbatore, as her allotted bovine chewed on its cud with a dull expression. There are also reports of male students’ jettisoning their bikes and taking their female friends out for cow rides. “I always wanted to be a cowboy as shown in Hollywood Westerns. With Amma’s regime gifting me a maadu (cow in colloquial Tamil), I can only express my gratitude by saying ammau (Editor- onomatopoeic transliteration of cows mooing used in colloquial Tamil] ,” raved Varadharajan Pandian, a 4th year Computer Science student at MIT (Mannapuram Institute of Technology).
Farmers meanwhile are neglecting agricultural activities and spending a lot of time on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter courtesy the new gizmos, sparking fears that Tamil Nadu’s cereal grain production may plummet dramatically this season. The entry of the farmers into the internet space hasn’t gone down with well established Facebookers either. Says Raghib Ahmed, a self-professed social networking freak from Delhi, “Man, their thoughts are so agricultural. All this scheme has done is to pollute the internet space.” When The UnReal Times communicated this feeling to Ponnuswamy, a farmer from a village near Trichy city, he rubbished it, saying, “Naansense, they are just jealous that we are kicking their ass in Farmville.”
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has written to Dr. Jayalalitha asking her to “urgently take cognizance of the prevailing situation and take corrective measures, lest it lead to distortions in the State’s economy and a permanent rupture of the social fabric.” The Noida authority, however, is reportedly looking into implementing a similar laptop scheme for the agitating farmers in UP.