Special Correspondent

Sanction of `B Two' status for the capital mooted

  • Recognition of the STs residing in Pondicherry recommended
  • Measures suggested to tone up agriculture, tourism projects

    Pondicherry: The standing committee of the Union Home Ministry on Pondicherry has recommended to the Centre conferment of Statehood with special category status on Pondicherry, which is currently a Union Territory.

    Pattali Makkal Katchi Parliamentary Party Leader M. Ramadoss, who was one of the committee members, told newsmen here on Monday that the committee report was tabled in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on August 2, making a strong case for Statehood.

    He said that as a Union Territory, Pondicherry posed several functional handicaps for the Chief Minister, as most of the administrative powers were vested with the Lt. Governor, and he cleared the files. The PMK leader said that the committee, headed by Ms. Sushma Swaraj, visited Pondicherry and Karaikal regions in June last year to enlist the views of all sections.

    The committee had found that the overwhelming view of the elected representatives and also the people at large here was in favour of Pondicherry becoming a State with a special category status.

    Once the status was conferred, the Union Territory would get 90 per cent of its budgetary sanctions through Central assistance, while the remaining 10 per cent could be mobilised through internal resources. Therefore, the issue of Statehood had to be considered in a holistic manner, the committee felt while making recommendations.

    Mr. Ramadoss said that the committee had also recommended sanction of `B Two' status for Pondicherry city as the population of urban agglomeration had exceeded 5.05 lakh as per census of 2001.The status would entail an enhanced house rent allowance for Government staff.

    He said that Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and Panaji (Goa) had been granted `B Two' status even though their population was less than that of Pondicherry. The committee had also recommended recognition of Scheduled Tribes residing in Pondicherry. The Pondicherry Government, the Backward Classes Commission and the Subramaniyan Naidu Committee had already identified existence of five categories of STs here and a notification had been requested for recognition of the Tribes by the Centre.

    Mr. Ramadoss added that the committee had also recommended measures to tone up agriculture, and tourism projects and also to speed up works in tsunami-hit areas in the Union Territory.