The Tamil Nadu government has sought the release of Rs 2168.18 crore from the Centre to conduct local body elections.
According to a report in the Times of India, state ministers SP Velumani and Thangamani met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday in this regard and requested the release of funds.
The newspaper reports that a total amount of Rs 560.15 crore is due towards urban and rural local bodies as against the 2017- 2018 performance grant.
The first instalment of the 14th Finance Commissionâ€™s basic grant for the current fiscal year also owes the state Rs. 1608.03 crores for urban and local bodies, ToI reports.
According to a report in the Indian Express, Tamil Nadu's Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister, SP Velumani, wrote a letter to Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar, stating that a first instalment of basic grant of a sum of Rs 876.94 crore for the financial year 2018-19 was also due.
For the last 18 months, the state has been functioning without elected local body representatives or panchayat leaders. The local body elections that were scheduled for October 2016 had been stalled by the Madras High Court after the main opposition party in the state, the DMK, questioned the way the poll process was being carried out.
Back then, the DMK had challenged the polls citing law and order problems, irregularities, inadequate ST reservation, and a hurried announcement.
The High Court dismissed their argument that reservation should be done based on Census 2011 but by then the state government had begun a delimitation process based on that census. For the last one year and 10 months, Tamil Nadu has been functioning without local body leaders and now the government led by Edappadi Palaniswami has stated that it will take six more months for the delimitation exercise to end.
Currently, the state is missing 200 ward councillors and 12,524 panchayat leaders.
Further, on his part, Electricity Minister Thangamani requested the Finance Minister to release funds from the Asian Development Bank to the state for the construction of two sub-stations.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the Union Power Ministry had reportedly cleared the proposal for financial assistance to the tune of USD 500 million from the ADB for the Chennai - Kanniyakumari Industrial Corridor Project to set up a 765 kV substation at Virudhunagar and a 400 kV substation at Ottapidaram in Thoothukudi.