Land acquired not in contiguous area: Chidambaram

The Union Ministry of Commerce has cancelled a proposal to establish a Special Economic Zone at Karasur.

The project was cancelled as the land acquired for the SEZ was not in a contiguous area, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference after a three-hour meeting to review projects of the territorial administration, Mr. Chidambaram said, “I hope the government would reclaim the land given to the private developer and return it to the owners.”

To a query on the fate of the proposed deep water project at Puducherry, he said the matter was sub judice and would not comment on it. When asked about Kariakal port, he said, “it is functioning and we will not create any impediment to it.” He expressed optimism that a concessional agreement would be soon signed between the developer and government.

On the question of ban on creation of new posts, he said that even though there is a ban order imposed by the Centre, there is a clause which allows the government to create new posts during expansion and setting up new organisations.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to give its consent for creating new posts in ITI, medical college and Arts and Science College.

Expressing satisfaction over the functioning of the Puducherry government, he said that during the current financial year, several new projects would be implemented with the “full backing of the Centre.”

When asked to comment on the Union Territory's demand to waive loan due to the Union government, he said it was not easy to waive such a huge amount.

Another review meeting would be held in October, the Union Home Minister said.

Later in the evening, he addressed a gathering at the stone laying function for a Comprehensive Sewerage Scheme for urban areas of Puducherry under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Mr. Chidambaram said that there were 925 vacant posts in the territorial police. “I hope that the vacant posts will be filled by July,” he added.

Mr. Chidambaram urged the government to complete the works for the sewerage scheme within the stipulated period of three years.

Union Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture V. Narayanasamy said the Centre was spending Rs. one lakh crore under the JNNURM for providing roads, drinking water facility, houses for urban poor, electricity and parks for urban areas.

The Union government has increased funds for the scheme to provide houses for urban poor from Rs. 450 crore during 2009-2010 to Rs. 1,250 crore.

Lieutenant Governor Iqbal Singh said that large inflow of tourists to Puducherry brought along with it the challenge of managing waste generated by the inflow.

“Puducherry has been implementing sewerage scheme in the urban areas since 1980 in a phased manner under the Integrated Urban Development Projects under State budget. The inherent limitations in the quantum of financial support have made it possible to provide sewerage system to an extent of only about 25 per cent of the urban areas,” he said.

With the launch of the Comprehensive Sewerage Scheme, he said it was now possible to provide sewerage system to the remaining urban areas.

Mr. Singh expressed confidence that the completion of the scheme would give the much needed facelift to Puducherry town and help in making it more attractive to tourists.

Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam said the open drainage system had raised problems and the underground sewerage system would bring the “much-needed change” in Puducherry.