OTHER STATES

Budget session eventful

S. Dorairaj



1,255 starred questions, 322 un-starred questions answered

Five Bills introduced and passed



PUDUCHERRY: As it was predicted by observers, the 23-day-budget session of the Puducherry Assembly, which had been adjourned sine die on Wednesday, was eventful and productive.

Significantly, though the Treasury Benches and the Opposition, including the parties that supported the government, crossed swords on several occasions, they did not hesitate to join hands on issues such as the demand for full Statehood for the Union Territory and curbing the alleged interference of bureaucracy in the day-to-day administration.

In near unanimity, the government was able to carry the entire Opposition along with it in demanding full Statehood. It had also succeeded in convincing Lieutenant Governor Bhopinder Singh to clear the proposal to abolish the Common Entrance Test for admissions to professional colleges. For the first time, the Union Territory had passed the Puducherry Marine Fishing Regulation Bill. If the Treasury Benches had to experience moments of embarrassment owing to Tourism Minister Malladi Krishna Rao’s discordant note on the Statehood issue and Welfare Minister M .Kandasamy revealing what transpired at the Cabinet meeting on the controversial government medical college issue, the intra-party rivalry in the Opposition also came to the fore during the session.

The debate on the motion of thanks for the Lt. Governor’s address which broadly outlined the policies and programmes of the government and the “tax-free budget” presented by the Chief Minister brought to light burning issues ranging from stray dog menace to rising prices of essential commodities and from beefing up security in the Central Prison to disbursement of adequate compensation for crop loss in rain-hit areas. Apart from the debate, the members, cautioned the government not to be complacent on the law and order front.

They also called for steps to expedite measures to earmark internal reservation for the minorities, implement schemes for the development of Karaikal, devolve powers to the local bodies, enhance transport facilities in rural areas, end delay in the construction of houses for the people in the tsunami-hit areas, curb smuggling of petrol and diesel to other States and regulate leasing of government and municipal lands.

The Treasury Benches had a tough time handling issues such as the Memorandum of Understanding with the Reliance Industries for laying gas pipeline in Yanam region and the multi-crore Perunthalaivar Kamaraj Medical College project in Puducherry.

The session culminated in the Speaker’s customary address which had an important message: “I wish the Chief Minister and the Ministers to work in unison and continue to win the acclaim of one and all!”

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