October 3, 2017 7:39:51 pm
The war of words between the Congress-led Puducherry government and Lt Governor Kiran Bedi continued with Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Tuesday charging her with obstructing implementation of various state projects.
Speaking to reporters here, Narayanasamy said she had recently written to the Central Vigilance Commission for a probe into alleged irregularities in purchase of two luxury boats for the Boat House of Puducherry Tourism Development Corporation in 2015.
He said Bedi had claimed she had written the letter on the ground that she had quasi-judicial powers under Rule 44 of the Rules of Business of the Puducherry government.
“Where is the room for a quasi-judicial authority on an issue which ought to have been brought first to the notice of the Chief Minister or the concerned Minister of Department`s Secretary. Without bringing the matter to our notice, the Lieutenant Governor had written to the CVC”, he said.
Narayanasamy said the CVC had sought a reply from the Chief Secretary on the matter and added that government would ‘strongly protest and write an appropriate letter to the CVC.’
He said the fact was that the amount due to the supplier of the two boats was yet to be paid by the administration.
The Chief Minister pointed out that he had already stated some days back that no authority in the administration can bypass the elected government and rush to the Centre with a representation for a probe.
Agriculture Minister R Kamalakannan who was also present, said it was unfair of Bedi, a Constitutional authority, to delay approving the cabinet decision for waiver of loans due from farmers to the cooperative societies.
He said the cabinet had through several meetings decided to waive the loans and had sent the file to Bedi for her nod. But instead of doing so,she had forwarded it to the Centre for further clarification as to why loans due to nationalised banks from farmers could not also be waived, he said.
Kamalakannan said the cabinet decision for waiver of Rs 22 crore could not be implemented for nearly 15 months because of ‘diversion’ of the issue by the Lt Governor.
He said cooperative societies would be reimbursed the amount due to them by the government in a phased manner.
Kamalakannan pointed out that bigger states had waived loans running to several crores of rupees. “But to waive Rs 22 crore, there was much difficulty in Puducherry,” he said.
Waiving cooperative loans was within the powers of the Puducherry government and so there could not be room to delay it, he said, adding that farmers had been left in the lurch as they could not go in for fresh cooperative loans.
Bedi, who assumed office in May last year, has been involved in tussles with the Congress government on a host of issues.
She has been asserting that being the administrator of the UT, she had the powers over administrative matters.
Last year, the former IPS officer had even threatened to quit her post and leave the Union Territory over non-cooperation by officials.
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