Lt Governor Kiran Bedi once again locked horns with Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy – this time over his statement on ‘Eri Sangams’ (Tank Users Association, a local community group).
The Chief Minister on Thursday had said that it will not be proper to hand over disilting work of tanks to Eri Sangams, though the Lt Governor had directed so, which provoked the Lt Governor.
Addressing the press after a meeting of top government officials to discuss the preparedness ahead of the northeast monsoon next month, the Chief Minister pointed out that Eri Sangams cannot be entrusted to do the desilting work, and hence, the government will go for an open auction to give contract.
Responding to the Chief Minister, Kiran Bedi said she never asked anyone to be given any financial or materialistic favour, which caused financial or legal irregularity. Eri Sangam is a community legacy left behind by the French, and the European Union worked with such community groups closely, to maintain tanks which make Puducherry water rich. “Raj Nivas is promoting cooperation of local communities in all its efforts, as they are the primary sustainable stakeholders, but they have to compete equally and deliver as per the contract conditions as the case be. We are not here to gift any money,” she added.
The Lt Governor also alleged that though the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (Nabard) had allotted funds to train local communities, the funds were never used.
Raising another serious criticism against the administration, the Lt Governor said that she is aware of many cases were funds meant for development, construction or purchase of certain things, were diverted for something else.
“Just because Raj Nivas did not made these cases public, it doesn’t mean these were acceptable. Corrections to the extent possible were made. The concerned secretaries took remedial measures too to ensure no repetition,” she said.
Commenting on the decision taken to desilt tanks, Ms Bedi said that this discussion should have been done well before the arrival of the monsoon.
“Such meetings must be held during the peak dry season, so that by now, the tanks are ready to receive water. When the monsoon arrives, we may lose all the money. This is why the Raj Nivas has worked for ‘Water rich Puducherry’ throughout the year,” she added. Ms Bedi also asked the Chief Minister to desist from making unfounded and incorrect statements which will lower the trust in the office of a Chief Minister.