Support from Centre inadequate, says Pondy CM

Coimbatore: Hitting out at the Centre, Puducherry Chief Minister Narayanasamy has alleged inadequate support from the Centre was stunting industrial growth in the Union Territory. Despite huge potential for tourism and industrial development, the Centre was not coming forward to assist projects in Puducherry, he said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, when approached, was saying the government had no funds, Narayanasamy said, while addressing the 'Indian Business Congress', organised here by the Entrepreneurs Council of India.

"Running an industry in this competitive and highly politicised atmosphere has been and is a huge challenge," he said. "If investments have to come, the state should be peaceful, it should be corruption-free; the government should offer incentives and above all, the state should have a progressive industrial policy. But in our country, bureaucracy is the biggest bottleneck for any development," he said.

Coming down on demonetisation, Narayanasamy said the nation gained nothing by it. Instead the purpose for which it was brought, be it towards curbing black money, flushing out withdrawn notes from terrorists-- could not be achieved, he claimed. The achievement on the other hand was only in bringing the country's GDP down by two per cent, Narayanasamy said.

"Now with the rollout of GST, the growth is becoming even more stunted. Such ideas have been thrust without thinking," he said. "Revenue in Puducherry has come down by 40 per cent and industrial investments are not coming," he said.

Narayanasamy said during the last two years he has been receiving awards... for best governance, maintaining law and order, tourism potential, organic farming and best industrial area.

"But for (Lieutenant Governor) Kiran Bedi, I could have bagged more awards," he said in a lighter vein. Bedi and the Congress government in Puducherry have been at loggerheads over a host of issues ever since she assumed charge as Lt Governor in May 2016.

With the new industrial policy and tourism-friendly atmosphere, Puducherry has the best industrial climate for investment, the Chief Minister claimed. He lamented that required funding support was not coming from the Centre. "We are, however, trying to overcome the bureaucratic bottlenecks, which is a menace," he said.