PUDUCHERRY: Chief Minister N Rangasamy on Sunday urged Prime Minster Narendra Modi and the governing council of NITI Aayog to address a charter of demands including Statehood for Puducherry, devolution of funds to the UT on the lines of the Central Finance Commission and providing interim relief of `600 crore to the cash strapped administration. Rangasamy also sought waiver of legacy loans and interest availed on the Consolidated Fund of India, devolution of powers to UT to execute Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects and declaration of AFT Mills as a relief undertaking and for sale of land to settle statutory dues.
The Chief Minister, who was a special invitee, raised the issues at the first meeting of the governing Council of NITI Aayog in New Delhi. Puducherry was represented by Lieutenant Governor (in charge), Ajay Kumar Singh.
Emphasising that the demand for Statehood was a long standing one, Rangasamy said the Legislative Assembly had so far passed 13 resolutions seeking Statehood. Pointing that the Union Territory was not covered by the Central Finance Commission since it covered only the States, Rangasamy pointed out that Puducherry does not get a share in Central taxes and any financial devolution for the Panchayati Raj Institutions and local bodies. In the absence of any clear formula for devolution of funds, Puducherry was losing around `300 crore every year, he added.
The CM said the government had submitted an additional demand of `600 crore towards various genuine demands for 2014-15 to the Ministry of Home Affairs and requested the PM to direct the Ministry of Finance to release the amount.
CM Rangasamy reiterated the demand to Government of India to waive off the legacy debt/interest paid, which is approx `3,400 cr. Recalling that Puducherry was the first and only UT to create a Public Account of its own and the loans outstanding as on Dec, 17, 2007 were `2,177 crore he said the UT has paid `1,168 crore as interest on these outstanding dues.
Further the Chief Minister requested the NITI Aayog that his administration be permitted to clear PPP projects up to `250 crore, at least wherever viability gap funding was not necessitated. “There are some projects in Puducherry in respect of tourism, education and health which can be taken up under PPP mode.
Referring to the AFT Mills, Chief Minister Rangasamy said the Government of Puducherry has been writing to Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Home Affairs for necessary approval of the Government of India declaring the AFT mill as Relief Undertaking for a period of one year in accordance with the powers conferred under section 3 of the Tamil Nadu Act 1969, which was extended to the UT of Puducherry in 1984.