Puducherry: The bitter turf war between Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi on a plethora of issues intensified in Puducherry in 2017.
Introduction of a direct daily flight to and from Hyderabad coinciding with the 56th Liberation Day of Puducherry and launching of a Smart City Development Limited in October to implement the Centre’s Rs 1,800 crore Smart City Project for making the former French colony an international tourist destination were some of the positive developments during the year.
Principal Secretary (PWD) of the Delhi government Ashwani Kumar was appointed as the chief secretary of Puducherry in November and incumbent Manoj Parida was shifted to the national capital.
However, the issue of differences between Bedi and Narayanasamy kept the state in news.
A strong protest erupted with the ruling Congress and its alliance partner, the DMK, and some other parties raising a banner of revolt against the Centre for “arbitrarily deciding the names of the three nominated members without any recommendation from the state government”.
The Congress, the DMK and a number of other parties organised a bandh on 7 July which was followed by a day-long closedown on 8 July to protest against the nominations.
The parties alleged that Bedi was functioning like “an agent of the BJP” and was interfering in the routine functioning of the elected government.
There were also differences between Bedi and the government on several other issues.
Bedi pointed an accusing finger against the authorities charging them of finalising students for MBBS and PG courses in private medical colleges by violating rules.
She also sought a probe by the CBI into the modalities adopted for admission to medical colleges and two IAS officers of Puducherry and a few other officials were booked by the CBI in connection with the alleged irregularities in the admission process.
Bedi also continued with her weekend visits to rural, urban and semi-urban areas to see for herself the “lack of amenities” and listen to the grievances of the locals.
The Lt Governor came forward with a slew of austerity measures to ensure conservation of money. She banned business class flight travel by all officials as “a severe financial crisis is prevailing in Puducherry”.