Ramadass to press for B2 status for Pondy

Staff Reporter

PONDICHERRY: The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) MP, M. Ramadass has said he would press for `B 2' status for Pondicherry during his meeting with Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, scheduled on April 19. Upgrading of the status would enable government employees to get enhanced house rent allowance.

Mr. Ramdass, at a press conference on Saturday, said he had given a memorandum to the Union Home Minister, citing reasons justifying the demand for the status. The memorandum had since been forwarded to the Union Finance Ministry.

The Centre had contended that the Union Territory with a population of less than five lakhs did not meet the criterion for the status.Since Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands (a Union Territory) had been sanctioned `B 1' status though its population was less than five lakhs, the status could be granted to Pondicherry too, Mr. Ramdass said. The population of Oulgaret municipality could be added to that of Pondicherry to meet the criterion.

Cotton mills

On the issue of the takeover of Swadeshi Cotton Mills and Bharathi mills by the Pondicherry Administration, he said the Union Textiles Ministry would meet the Rs. 140-crore financial commitments of the two mills.

The ownership of the mills were with the National Textiles Corporation till April 1.

JIPMER autonomy

Allaying the fears of employees of the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Mr. Ramadass said their jobs would be unaffected even if the institute became autonomous. Before Parliament passes a bill on this issue, the views of the employees would be considered. Autonomy would help the institute take expeditious decisions on its routine requirements.

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