PUDUCHERRY: Senior Congress leader and former chief minister V Narayanasamy sought the immediate withdrawal of 5 per cent GST levied by the Central government on packaged food items.
Briefing newsmen on Friday, Narayanasamy said that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was hurting the people by imposing the 5 per cent on essential items like rice, wheat, maida, milk, curd. This comes at a time when people are affected by inflation and unemployment.
He said that the Congress led by Rahul Gandhi staged an agitation against it, and boycotted the parliament proceedings in protest. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not concerned about the poor and middle class but was favouring the industrialists, which resulted in Adani being the 4th wealthiest person in the world," he added.
While Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the GST was imposed on acceptance by the member States in the Council meeting, Narayanasamy said that since majority of members in the GST Council are from the BJP, acceptance for the imposition of GST on food items was obtained.
Meanwhile,congratulating Droupadi Murmu on winning the Presidential election, the former CM expressed hope that she would work in accordance with the Constitution and not remain as a 'rubber stamp'.
He said that the Congress was repeatedly saying that there is no evidence in the National Herald case. Even then, the Enforcement Directorate questioned party interim president Sonia Gandhi for three hours and then asked her to go, though she was prepared to answer all their questions. This clearly proves that the ED has no evidence, he claimed.
Meanwhile, criticising Chief Minister N Rangaswamy for not visiting flood-hit Yanam, Narayasamay said that he should not hold grudge against the residents of region where he was defeated in the previous Assembly election.
The CM should provide relief and rehabilitation, and aid of`50,000 to fishermen and rural residents to construct their damaged houses and Rs 25,000 for urban people.
Narayanasamy charged corrupt practices in processing liquor licences to start new distilleries (blending and bottling units) for IMFL, when the production in the existing five is just 50 per cent of their capacity compared to the market demand.
In such a scenario, he questioned the necessity to provide fresh licences to more distilleries. "If the licences were given to start more distilleries, Puducherry will turn into a sea of liquor," alleged Narayanasamy.
He further said that alleged corruption in the attempts were being made to sell liquor shops run by Government PSUs PAPSCO and PASIC.
He further alleged that negotiations for kickbacks were delaying the operation of buses for students. Though tenders were floated for operation of buses at Re 1, and several private operators responded to the tender, it has not been materialised. Now, entire bus operations remain uncertain, he said.
Narayanasamy also expressed concern about the recent spate of country bomb blasts at places like Vanarapet, Villianur, Lawspet, Mettupalayam in which history-sheeters eliminated one another including one on Thursday. "If a government cannot protect people and maintain peace , then it should not remain in power," said Narayanasamy.