Staff Reporter

PUDUCHERRY: Members of several political parties on Monday demanded additional bus services for Karaikal region and adequate connectivity in rural areas.

During a discussion for debate on grants for Transport, Education, Fisheries, District Administration and Community Development, V.M.C. Sivakumar (DMK) said that at present, Karaikal had bus services for only four destinations.

The government should operate mini bus services in the areas - private or government-owned services. Around 250 mini buses were plying in Tamil Nadu, he added.

N.G. Panneerselvam (PMK) said that the coastal villages in Karaikal had no proper bus facilities. He urged the government to operate more buses in the areas.

The members also explained the need for bus routes in rural areas, proper maintenance of buses, bus passes for freedom fighters, services from Lawspet to Thiruvanmiyur and special services for women and students.

R. Viswanathan (CPI) said that despite a ban on written examinations for admission to LKG and UKG, several private schools were conducting entrance tests. “Tamil is only a subject from LKG to Plus-Two. Teaching in Tamil should be made compulsory in schools,” he insisted.

The Union Territory had only one polytechnic institution and, as a result, several students were studying in Cuddalore and Villupuram, he said, adding that there was a demand for the course in Puducherry.

With the government allotting Rs. 7.5 crore for Puducherry Engineering College, Mr. Viswanathan said the funds should not be allotted as it was an autonomous institution. “The college does not follow the announcements of the government. This included the announcement not to collect fees from students admitted through CENTAC,” he said. The government should specify income limits to identify poor students for the Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Financial Assistance scheme, he said.

Independent MLA A. Marimuthu said that there was shortage of teachers for painting, music and tailoring in schools. Self-defence and swimming classes should be conducted at schools, he added.

Formation of an Education Board, financial assistance for children of fishermen, upgrading schools and repairing damaged buildings were the other demands.

Mr. Viswanathan said that the government should protect and maintain the Bharathiar memorial and the house of Subbiah. “The house was handed over to the government for starting a public library. Its present condition is bad and no funds have been allotted for its maintenance,” he said. The families of 38 fishermen, who died in the tsunami in Karaikal, had not received the Central government assistance of Rs. one lakh, he added.

The other demands included selection of youth from fishing villages for sports events, grievance redressal days for the public at Mahe and Yanam and expedition of land acquisition works for the Government Girls Middle School at Reddiarpalayam.