India Politics
Centre should move towards science centre takeover: Achuthanandan
Mar 20, 2007 - 4:46:11 PM

Thiruvananthapuram, March 20 - Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Tuesday said a draft of a memorandum of understanding - for handing over a biotechnology institution to the central government had been sent for its response.

Efforts have been under way since last year for takeover of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, an autonomous body under the state government, here by the central government.

The chief minister said that they were now waiting the Centre's reply on the draft MoU.

'On Feb 7, the cabinet decided to hand over the institution to the Centre and the government order to that effect came the very next day. On Feb 9 we intimated the Centre and are now waiting to hear from them,' Achuthanandan told the state assembly.

He was replying to a question raised by Congress legislator V.D. Satheeshan, who alleged that the state government was sitting on the proposal of transfer.

'Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced the takeover decision Feb 28, 2006, and also sanctioned Rs.35 crores -. On June 17, the agreement was signed by you and after a few days it was called back. This delay has caused a serious loss to the Centre,' Satheesan alleged.

Former chief minister Oommen Chandy had given the final approval to the transfer March 15, 2006. Assembly polls were announced soon after and Achuthanandan took over in May. Since then the takeover has been hanging fire.

The transfer would be effective only after the state inks a memorandum of understanding - with the Centre to this effect. Achuthanandan said that a draft MoU had been sent and central approval was still awaited.

Due to the delay in transfer, the biotechnology centre is likely to lose Rs.350 million set aside by Chidambaram in the previous budget, as it had to be utilised before the end of this fiscal.

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