The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Wednesday sought the intervention of Lieutenant Governor Virendra Kataria to impress upon the Centre to write off the debts of the Puducherry government.
In a memorandum submitted to Mr. Kataria, R. Viswanathan, secretary of the CPI’s Puducherry unit, said the total debts of the government had gone beyond Rs.5,000 crore. The government was in a position to allot about Rs.800 crore towards interest and principal components alone. The reduction of the Central grant from 90 per cent of Plan allocation to 70 per cent in 1974 and 30 per cent in 2007 was the main reason for the crisis. Puducherry was forced to open a Public Fund Account in 2007 as if it was a State.
As a result, a shortage of about Rs. 1,000 crore occurred in the Plan budget for the financial year 2012-13. The Plan budget for 2013-14 had been reduced from about Rs.3,000 crore to Rs.2,000 crore.
Hence, the Lieutenant Governor should take immediate steps to make the Centre write off the debt burden. He should also take steps to augment revenue, prevent leakages of funds, prune unnecessary freebies and implement projects effectively.
The memorandum added that the Lieutenant Governor had been vested with more powers than the elected government in the Union Territory of Puducherry than the other States.
Though the system initially benefited Puducherry, it had later been hampering growth . Successive governments , realising the handicap, had passed about 12 unanimous resolutions so far in the Territorial Assembly, demanding statehood for Puducherry. The CPI also constituted a committee to study the issue. It had brought out a detailed base document on statehood, which had been circulated from the Puducherry government officials to the President of India.
While welcoming the measures taken to improve the law and order situation after the intervention of Mr. Kataria, the CPI said public vigilance committees should be formed to create awareness among people of preventing the movement of antisocial elements.