Chief Minister N. Rangasamy on Wednesday met President Pranab Mukherjee at the Raj Nivas and presented memorandums demanding statehood to Puducherry and total waiver of the loan burden faced by the Puducherry government.
Asked what transpired at the 30-minute meeting, Mr. Rangasamy told The Hindu that he had stressed the need for his immediate intervention to accord statehood to Puducherry for which the Puducherry Assembly passed several resolutions in the recent past. He told the President that unlike Union Territories such as Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, Andaman Nicobar island and Chandigarh, Puducherry had a legislature.
Though it had an elected government, financial and administrative powers were limited.
He had told him that his government had been corresponding with the Home Ministry on several occasions for grant of statehood. It was understood that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs also recommended grant of Statehood.
Mr. Rangasamy urged the President to take necessary steps for total waiver of loans of Puducherry, which had crossed Rs.5,000 crore. It had been paying an interest of around Rs.500 crore per year.
Puducherry had been facing a lot of constraints due to changes in fund allocation by the Centre, Mr. Rangasamy said.
The debt burden increased manifold only after the public account was opened for the UT in 2007. Earlier, Mr. Mukherjee was given a rousing reception at the Puducherry airport.