Special Correspondent

Refuses comment on rumours of his stepping down

I am not an aspirant to CM’s post: Kandasamy

Denies Nazeem’s charges on administration

PUDUCHERRY: Chief Minister N.Rangasamy on Saturday said that the Congress high command was satisfied with the performance of the territorial government under his stewardship.

Mr.Rangasamy, who met mediapersons after his return from New Delhi, also scotched rumours about his continuance as Chief Minister. “There is no doubt that the high command is content with the performance of the government,” he said.

When asked if there was any basis for rumours in the air that he had decided to step down in a week, he said, “I have nothing to comment, as they had been dubbed rumours.”

During his two-day visit to Delhi, he had met, among others, the Union Home Minister and the Home Secretary and discussed with them issues relating to the administration and development projects implemented in the Union Territory, he said. “I have pleaded with them to clear the files pertaining to the development projects quickly,” he said.

Asked if the Puducherry government faced any financial crisis, Mr. Rangasamy said, “We have just presented the budget and implementation of projects would commence shortly.”

Issues related to implementation of the development projects were also taken up with the All India Congress Committee observers who were in charge of the party affairs in Puducherry, he said.

To another query, Mr.Ragasamy said there was no change in his stand that top bureaucrats who adopted a positive approach to ensure the development of the Union Territory should be posted for Puducherry.

Comes clear

Welfare Minister M.Kandasamy, who returned from Delhi on Friday, made it clear that he was not an aspirant for the Chief Minister’s post.

Talking to reporters at his office in the Assembly complex, he said, “It is for the high command to decide on such issues. But the Congress leadership and the people are aware that I always fulfil my responsibilities in an exemplary manner.”

Asked if the Chief Minister had been asked to sort out differences with the Ministers, Mr.Kandasamy said he was not aware of the high command’s advice to the former.

He denied Leader of the Opposition A.M.H.Nazeem’s charge that the administration had come to a standstill, owing to infighting in the Cabinet and the standoff between Ministers and bureaucrats.

However, he said that funds crunch had come in the way of implementation of projects.

Funds to the tune of Rs.29 crore were required for implementation of schemes in the Social Welfare and Women and Child Development departments, he said, adding that in the Public Works Department, Rs.260 crore had to be disbursed to the contractors for the works completed last year and Rs.600 crore had to be earmarked for the works to be implemented for the current year.

Stressing the need for adopting a holistic approach to end the problem, he said the Chief Minister, who held the finance portfolio also, should come forward to ensure that the relevant files were cleared without delay.

During his visit to Delhi, he had called on Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar and invited her to Puducherry to inaugurate the Ambedkar memorial next month.

He had asked Ms. Kumar to sanction funds for three hostels for Adi Dravidar students and the observation home at Ariyankuppam, Mr.Kandasamy said.