Puducherry CM defends nod for celebrations

Souvenir for consumer: Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy at a National Consumer Day event in Puducherry on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: KUMAR SS

Defending his decision to allow celebrations, including New Year gatherings and religious festivals, in spite of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy on Thursday said he believed that no one had the right to ban festivals. He said the gatherings could only be regulated.

Addressing the National Consumer Day programme organised by the Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs here, Mr. Narayanasamy said he decided to allow Christmas, New Year and the Sani Peyarchi celebrations in strict adherence to guidelines, standard operating procedures and under tight supervision.

Mr. Narayanasamy said life could not come to a stop because of the pandemic. In line with the Centre’s norms, Puducherry resumed a range of services, reopened educational institutions and revived industrial activity.

Moreover, in Puducherry, traditions like New Year celebrations were intertwined with the French mores, he said.

After the Chief Minister recently overturned a ban by the Collector and stated that celebrations would be allowed on New Year, Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi had written to him, asking that he reconsider his decision in view of the pandemic.

Mr. Narayanasamy rejected the idea, contending that a blanket ban on festivities would affect many livelihoods in the tourism-dependent city.

“Power that comes with the office should be used to help, not hurt, people,” he said.

Rice distribution

Mr. Narayanasamy said when the government was distributing rice through fair price shops for six months, the Lieutenant Governor stopped this and ordered payment of cash. Although the government had been trying to distribute rice, the Lt. Governor advocated direct benefit transfer. During his interactions with the people, he found that women preferred to draw rice as monthly rations instead of cash, he added.

The public distribution system insulated the poor from inflation. With the DBT, the quantity of rice that one could purchase became variable because of the price fluctuation. Also, the probability of the beneficiaries spending the cash on something else was high, the Chief Minister said.

The Union Home Ministry had endorsed DBT and later the Madras High Court had ruled in favour of the policy. The Chief Minister said he was appealing against the court ruling.

Minister slams L-G

Welfare Minister M. Kandasamy said Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi’s “obstructionist” ways had made Puducherry the only place which did not have functioning ration shops.

It was ironic that public money was used to file a case in the Madras High Court for providing cash in lieu of rice, he said. The denial of the basic right to a consumer was a fit case for women to seek justice in court, the Minister added.

A. John Kumar, MLA, also spoke.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 5:56:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/puducherry-cm-defends-decision-to-allow-celebrations/article33414111.ece

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