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Not in position to approve proposal of Pongal gifts: Bedi to Narayanasamy

Press Trust of India  |  Puducherry 

Bedi said late Saturday night her office was "not in a position" to approve the proposal to distribute gifts to families, hours after V Narayanasamy warned her of "serious repercussions" if she did not concur with his government on the issue.

Addressing reporters here, Narayanasamy, who has been at loggerheads with Bedi on various issues, said he had on Friday sent a file, informing her that hampers comprising raisins, cashew nuts, and cardamom should be available free of cost to "all families without discrimination".

He said Bedi, who was insisting on giving the gifts to only BPL families, would face "very serious repercussions" if she did not see eye to eye with his government on the gift hamper scheme.

Bedi in a WhatsApp message said, "The had examined the proposal for providing the gift to above poverty line (APL) families and it had found that no separate funds were provided for the Pongal gift in the budget for the fiscal 2018-2019".

The allocation of funds was budgeted only for the operation of free rice scheme which is also highly inadequate, she said.

Free rice was distributed during the current fiscal only up to September and the rice is yet to be distributed for the remaining five months, she said, adding that the needed Rs 63 crores additionally for the scheme but had only Rs 19.51 crores.

Bedi stated that "already there is a shortfall in revenue collection to the extent of Rs 112 crores and hence "we are in dire need for funds to pay pension, settle power bills and meet other commitments".

She said that no additional grant was received from the Centre for a revised estimate of expenditure. For these reasons, the here has declined to concur with the proposal to provide Pongal gift to families.

She said the government also has to save money to protect the interest of poor families coming under BPL (below poverty line) category, while maintaining that the Pongal gift would be available only for BPL families.

Reacting to the CM's warning, Bedi said, "I am personally not afraid of anything."

The and his colleagues should realise that when a file is sent to her office for approval it shall be read with "application of mind and rules as office of the is not a rubber stamp," she said, adding it was "principally wrong for them to expect the to be a mere endorser of their demands and views."

Bedi also requested the not to use threatening words towards a constitutional office and "maintain decorum" in his speech and in the notes he was writing to her. Otherwise, she would be "compelled to make those notes public for people to know what and how he was writing".

Earlier in the day, the chief minister claimed the recent order, permitting distribution of freebies to all ration card holders in without any discrimination, was also applicable to

He charged the Lt Governor with "twisting and misinterpreting" the court order which, he said, had only restrained the government from distributing cash gift of Rs 1,000 to all families.

"The free supply of provisions and commodities for Pongal is to cover all families and the high court has also made this very clear," he pointed out.

Bedi had on Wednesday hailed the order, directing the government to restrict the Pongal cash gift of Rs 1,000 to Below Poverty Line families.

In a message to media, she had said the order was "a voice of wisdom, sagacity, financial prudence and reasonable restraint protecting society as a whole... also one of accountability and responsibility towards the really needy".

Noting that there was a limit to everything, Narayanasamy said the Lt Governor "cannot run roughshod and misuse power and authority".

He also termed as "unfortunate" Narendra Modi's response to the representations made by him all along on the style of functioning of the

The chief minister also participated in a demonstration organised jointly by the Left parties and the Viduthalai Chirutaigal Katchi (VCK) to condemn Bedi's "autocratic" style of functioning.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 13 2019. 00:25 IST