No assurance given to Centre on implementation: Rangasamy

Pondicherry April 9. The Chief Minister, N. Rangasamy, today said that no assurance on acceptance of the Value-Added Tax was given at an empowered committee meeting of the States held in New Delhi on April 8.

Mr. Rangasamy told the Assembly that it was not correct to say that the Administration had agreed to implement the VAT from June 1.

Earlier the DMK legislators, led by Janakiraman, staged a walkout during the zero hour, protesting the reported acceptance of VAT by the Government. They, however, returned to the House a few minutes later.

The Speaker, M.D.R. Ramachandran, said no debate could be allowed on any subject during the zero hour.

During the question hour, the two AIADMK members walked out, protesting `politicisation' of a loan scheme for fishermen to purchase catamarans.

A. Anbalagan raised the issue on the availability of relief to fishermen during adverse weather conditions. The Local Administration Minister, A. Elumalai, highlighted the details of the scheme, meant to provide relieve for fishermen during critical times. Mr. Anbalagan kept asking the Government as to what norms were adopted while sanctioning loans for purchase of catamarans.

He himself read out the details of the number of fishermen covered under the scheme, and alleged that there was political consideration in selecting the beneficiaries.

He referred "to the very meagre number of fishermen in his Uppalam constituency" and alleged that political considerations reigned supreme in choosing the beneficiaries.

The Education Minister, K. Lakshminarayanan, denied the allegation that there were political considerations. "Should this be true your constituency would have been left out", the Minister said asserting that the beneficiaries were selected without any political consideration.

Mr. Lakshminarayanan also said the legislators concerned were taken into confidence.

Mr. Anbalagan, who was not convinced by the reply, kept alleging that there was an autocratic approach and democracy was given the go-by. Both Mr. Anbalagan and A. Kasilingam staged a walkout. They later returned to the House.