Iqbal Singh sworn in as Lt Governor of Pondy

Chief Justice of Madras High Court H L Gokhale administered the oath of office to him at a function at the Raj Nivas.

Iqbal Singh (64) is the 20th Lt Governor of Puducherry after it became part of Indian Union through de jure transfer of power from the French in 1962.

Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala has been holding additional charge of Puducherry since April this year after the demise of Lt Governor Govind Singh Gurjar on April 6.

Union Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture V Narayanasamy, Chief Minister V Vaithilingam and his cabinet colleagues, Speaker R Radhakrishnan, Deputy Speaker A V Sreedharan, leader of the opposition A M H Nazeem and former Speaker M D R Ramachandran were among those present at the ceremony.

Singh later inspected a guard of honour by the Puducherry Police and hosted a tea for all the invitees.

Hailing from Jalandhar, Singh served as Rajya Sabha member between 1992 and 1998. He was also an AICC observer in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, besides being AICC secretary for 12 years.

In a message to the people, Singh said that Puducherry, with its peaceful and exotic location, is emerging as a favourite destination for domestic and international tourists.

"Puducherry, with its peaceful and exotic location, is fast emerging as a favourite destination for domestic and international tourists. Tourism infrastructure should be further improved to make Puducherry a most sought after destination," he said.

Asserting that Puducherry is at the forefront in education, health care and welfare sectors, the new Lt Governor said that the union territory had attained "a high level of human development indices with peaceful civic life".

He said the uniform floor rate of tax is posing a challenge to trading sector.

Singh said his priority would be to cooperate with the elected representatives and accelerate economic growth with equitable opportunities to women and weaker sections.

"It will be my endeavour to make the Union Territory of Puducherry a model of inclusive growth," he said in his message.

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