Special Correspondent

PUDUCHERRY: Almost all legislators who participated in the special governing body meeting of the Pondicherry Urban Development Agency (PUDA) on Tuesday flayed the authorities’ failure to convene the forum for the past five years.

Legislators including S.P. Sivakumar of the DMK, A. Anbalagan of the AIADMK and R.Viswanathan of the CPI criticised the government for not circulating the agenda papers to the members well in advance.

Just as the meeting was called under the chairmanship of Welfare Minister M. Kandasamy, the issue of non-conduct of the governing body meeting was taken up as the first agenda.

It was admitted by the authorities that as per the rules and regulations of PUDA, the governing body should meet at least twice a year regularly.

The last meeting of the forum was held in December 2002.

“The governing body meeting could not be conducted from 2003 to 2007 for various administrative reasons,” it was pointed out.

Now the authorities had agreed to convene the meeting next month so that the agendas could be taken up for discussion and ratification.

Though it had been stated that subsidy to the extent of Rs.62.80 lakh was provided to 2,585 persons and training was imparted to 6,210 at the total cost of Rs.96.18 lakh under the Urban Self-Employment Programme (USEP) component of the Swarnajayanthi Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY) during 2003-2007, the achievement was far less than the target fixed for this period, the legislators said.

The PUDA’s performance under the Development of Women and Children in Urban Areas (DWCUA) during these five years also showed that the number of beneficiaries was less than the target as per the data provided by the authorities.

The authorities concerned had failed to approach the Centre with proper proposals for funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and other Central schemes related to urban development, the legislators alleged.