Rumours float on Pondy Minister giving up portfolios

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Puducherry, Mar 19 (UNI) A large number of scribes gathered in the Puducherry Assembly premises today following a rumour that Local Administration Minister Malladi Krishna Rao had decided to give up his two portfolios.

Sources close to the Minister had "leaked out" the information to the press that Mr Rao had decided to give up Local Administration and District and Rural Development Agency portfolios and submit all files pertaining to the departments to Chief Minister N Rangasamy today.

However, Agriculture Minister V Vaithilingam, Health Minister E Valsaraj and Welfare Minister M Kandasamy held talks with Mr Rao and persuaded him to drop the move.

The sources said Mr Rao took the decision as the amount allocated to Local Administration Department this year was less compared to last year.

The fund allocation to each department was discussed in the Cabinet meeting on March 18 with Local Administration receiving only Rs 44 crore compared to Rs 61 crore last year.

Mr Rao had expressed his concern over the fund allotment as Rs 33 crore of the total allotment would have to be given to the Legislators' Area Development Fund and the balance Rs 11 crore would be insufficient even to carry out cleaning works.

Mr Rao also wanted devolution of powers to local body representatives and had reportedly placed the proposal before the Cabinet. However, it was not considered forcing the Minister to consider giving up the portfolios.


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