Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Thursday criticised Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi for declining to approve the release of funds for aided schools, saying she has no authority in such matters, The Hindu.
Narayanasamy said that his government had sent a file to Bedi seeking her approval to release funds to 35 aided schools in the Union Territory. Bedi, however, returned the file recommending that the government scrap the release of funds to the schools in a phased manner.
“Such a sudden stand on the part of the lieutenant governor causes embarrassment [to the government],” Narayanasamy told reporters, according to PTI. “The lieutenant governor has no authority to question the pattern of grants and also has no right to interfere and direct slashing of grants in a phased manner as done now,” he said.
Narayanasamy said the government had framed guidelines to release grants to privately-managed aided schools and the rate of grants was fixed in 1957. He said that the funds enable such school to pay salaries of teachers and pensions to retired staff.
The chief minister termed Bedi’s move “utterly unjustified”, adding that the directions to stop funds to such schools will affect around 27,000 students.
A total of Rs 44 crore had been approved for aided schools in the Budget tabled in the Assembly. This included Rs 2.92 crore as subsidy towards salaries to teachers and Rs 58 lakh as pension for retired staff.
Narayanasamy has often accused Bedi of overstepping her constitutional role in the Union Territory of Puducherry. In July, Narayanasamy said his government was struggling to carry out its routine administration because of hurdles caused by the Centre and the lieutenant governor.
On April 28, Bedi had issued an order that said distribution of free rice to villagers in the Union territory will be made “conditional to the certification that the village is open defecation free and free of strewn garbage and plastics”. After it triggered criticism from Opposition parties and several people on social media, she suspended the order.