PUDUCHERRY: The controversy over the extension of the tenure of seven MLAs as chairpersons of government boards and corporations still continues to rage with a ruling party MLA refusing to take charge, objecting to the conditions laid down by Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Kiran Bedi in the appointment order. Other MLAs are also upset over the conditions.
After a long tussle with the L-G over the renewal of tenure of five Congress and two DMK MLAs , the government led by V Narayanasamy finally had its way with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) approving the extension of their tenure.
But even after that, problems continued for Narayanasamy as the L-G kept the notification issued by former Chief Secretary Manoj Parida in this regard in abeyance, citing violation of rules. After a fresh file was moved, Bedi then approved it, but only with strings. She laid certain conditions, including one-year tenure subject to performance.
This is what has upset Congress MLA M N R Bhalan, who refused to re-assume office as chairman of the Puducherry Tourism Development Corporation.
“What is the use of heading a Corporation without any powers?” said Bhalan. As per the orders issued by the L-G, the chairman shall be a nonexecutive who will preside over board meetings and only the files on policy decisions taken at the meetings or proposals will be sent to the chairman. The day-to-day administration shall be taken care of by the Managing Director (MD) and not by the chairman. All administrative and financial files will stop at the level of the MD.
Policy decisions will be taken at the board meeting on the points of agenda brought by the MD who will be the CEO jointly signing the minutes of the board meeting. The chairman will not be entitled to any fee or remuneration, but entitled to engaging personal staff on co-terminus basis, strictly as per the scale notified by the government. The performance of the corporation under the chairman would be reviewed before considering his continuance, said the L-G’s order.
Irked by the conditions, Bhalan asked what was the use of holding the post, when the chairman could not propose anything. Even the agenda for board meetings cannot be decided by the chairman. All decisions would be taken by the MD and the chairman would only sign the decisions taken at the board meeting, that too, along with the MD. When there is no confidence in the MLA, and when he is suspected of misusing powers, if given, then what is the necessity to hold the post, he asked. Bhalan said he had spoken to the Chief Minister on this count and had also got ready a letter to be sent to the L-G.
Similar are the views of other MLAs appointed as chairpersons, though they have assumed office on the persuasion of the Chief Minister. On the other hand, Congress MLA N Dhanavelou, who took charge of PAPSCO, wanted the Chief Minister and the Lieutenant Governor to work in coordination for development of Puducherry.