Union Minister of State V. Narayanasamy today blamed the Tamil Nadu government for its “inaction” to facilitate a dialogue between Indian fishermen and their counterparts in Sri Lanka.
Though the External Affairs Ministry Secretary had written twice to the Tamil Nadu government recently for a dialogue to ensure protection of fishermen, the State government had not shown any response to the Centre’s initiative, Minister of State in the PMO Narayanasamy said.
Only through an agreement between the leaders of Tamil Nadu fishermen outfits and their counterparts in the Island Republic could the present hardships being faced by fishermen of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu be brought to an end, he told reporters in Puducherry.
Emphasising the need to demarcate the zones within which the fishermen of the State and Sri Lanka could carry on their avocation, the Secretary to the External Affairs Ministry had written twice to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary for the dialogue. “No response has, however, been shown by the Tamil Nadu government so far to these communications,” he said.
Replying to a question on the UPA’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Mr. Narayanasamy said as far as Congress was concerned, party leader Sonia Gandhi was the ultimate authority to decide on the matter, though there were several persons eligible to become the Prime Minister.
“Let us not indulge in any discussion now,” he said.
Mr. Narayanasamy claimed that the UPA had never shown political considerations between Congress ruled and non-Congress ruled States in allocation of funds for the implementation of the centrally sponsored schemes.
He said Uttar Pradesh was earmarked Rs. 3,500 crore for implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee programme. Tamil Nadu came next in the allocation of funds as it had been earmarked Rs. 3000 crore for the scheme.
“The Centre holds the scales even and funds are earmarked as per provisions in the Constitution, decisions taken at the National Development Council and in keeping with the approval of the Planning Commission,” he said.
Mr. Narayanasamy said a team of officials of the Comptroller and Auditor General would visit Puducherry soon to ascertain the reasons for “diversion” of funds from one department to another.
“Such diversion of funds cannot be done without prior approval of the Planning Commission but this is taking place in Puducherry as a routine affair”, he alleged.