News in Deccan Chronicle
Mulford is all praise for city
The US Ambas sador to India, Mr. David C. Mulford, was all praise for Hyderabad at the ceremonial opening event of the US consulate at Paigah Palace on Friday.
Mr. Mulford described Hyderabad as “a city that works” and that the US federal government‘s choice of the city was in clear recognition of its importance as a major social, political and commercial centre.
“Hyderabad has a broad and diverse economy. In addition to the important IT sector, the corporate community includes companies in life sciences, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals and high-tech institutions,” he said.
“We celebrate the opening of the consulate in Hyderabad, just days before the US Presidential elections. I feel confident that whoever becomes the US President and whoever becomes Prime Minis ter of India after the 2009 general elections will continue to build on the firm foundation.
Mr. Mulford hoisted the US flag at Paigah Palace to mark the opening of the consulate.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister Dr Y.S Rajasekhar Reddy thanked the US government for setting up the new consulate. “It is a momentous occasion for the city and the state to have the US consulate here,” Dr Reddy said.
The Hyderabad consulate is the fourth US in the country after Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
“Initially, the consulate here will have seven US consul officials and 12 Indian staff members. This will go up to 115 within a year,” said Mr Cornelis M. Keur, Consul-General and Hyderabad.
The consulate will start operations only in midDecember and process 100 visas per day initially. This will increase to 300 in January 2009 and eventually to 500 by March.
No change in Lake Zone: CM
The Chief Minister Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, on Friday firmly rejected any amendment or modification to the controversial GO 111 which restricts development in the 10 km radius of drinking water reservoirs Himayatsagar and Osmansagar.
The Chief Minister who is under constant pressure from his own partymen and realtors to allow highrise buildings on the upstream of the two water bodies has finally made up his mind against changes.
Dr Rajasekhar Reddy did a volte face on the issue as he assured to find some solution to the problem of land owners cov ered under the GO during his tour of Shamshabad on October 19.
The Chief Minister met officials concerned and representatives of sarpanches association.
Official sources told this newspaper that many officials cautioned the government against making any changes because of the legal implications. When a senior official suggested to the Chief Minister that the government could bring in changes without compromising the spirit of the GO, the latter turned it down. “Let us not touch the GO. We will allow whatever the GO permits,” Dr Reddy said.
Sources, however, said the government would pursue the notification on prescribing rules in the downstream.
CM to meet PM to seek KG gas
The Chief Minis ter, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, will meet the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on October 27 in New Delhi to ask for gas produced by Reliance in the KG basin.
Dr Reddy will brief the Prime Minister about the problems being faced by power plants in the state which have stopped generation to the tune of 2,000 MW due to non-availability of gas.
Dr Reddy will also focus on ‘city gas project’ planned in the state with the help of Reliance gas.
News in Times of India
No amendment to GO 111, rules CM
Act Against Any Deviations, Officials Told
Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy on Friday directed MA&UD officials to strictly follow the guidelines and orders issued in GO 111 that prohibits various development activities within 10 km radius of Himayathsagar and Osmansagar lake areas, which are one of the main sources of drinking water to the city.
Reviewing issues related to the municipal administration and urban development department along with panchayat raj minister J C Diwakar Reddy, mines minister P Sabita Reddy and senior officials, the CM asked officials to implement GO 111 strictly and ruled out any amendments, modifications or deviations regarding the GO.
State president of Sarpanches Association C Satyanarayana Reddy, who also attended the meeting, informed the chief minister that the HMDA (formerly Huda) was not permitting any layouts and building permissions within a 10-Km radius of the two water bodies and as such development activity had come to a standstill. He requested the chief minister to direct the HMDA to permit layouts by relaxing the rules.
The CM, however, put his foot down on any relaxation to the GO and directed the MA&UD officials to strictly follow the guidelines issued in the GO and act accordingly without any deviation.
US consulate opens in city
US ambassador to India David C Mulford on Friday declared open the new consulate at Paigah Palace in the city by hoisting the Stars and Stripes in the presence of chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and other officials.
Addressing the gathering, Mulford said the new US consulate would begin issuing visas from mid-December. To being with, the consulate will issue about 100 visas a day which will be gradually increased to 300 by January next year.
Stating that the new consulate would also provide passport and citizenship services to US residents in and visiting the state, Mulford said, “We are in the process of making substantial improvement to the Paigah Palace grounds by planting 124 new trees and committed to returning the heritage building in excellent condition at the end of our occupancy”.
On the occasion, Mulford and the CM planted trees in the consulate grounds.
News in The Hindu
David Mulford opens US Consulate in Hyderabad
Facility to begin processing 100 visa applications a day
The new American Consulate General was opened here on Friday by US Ambassador David C. Mulford which will begin processing 100 visa applications a day by the middle of December and scale it up to 300 by January next.
Presiding over the function, he said the US mission in India was the largest in the world outside the one in Iraq.
Its opening reflected the essential role that people-to-people relations have played and would continue to play in the development of strong ties between the two nations.
Stating that the ceremony fulfilled President George Bush’s 2006 promise to open a new consulate in this “historic and important city”, he said Mr. Bush was a great friend and admirer of India.
“The President has also been able to envision the impact this relationship can have on the world in future. As a result, we have seen enormous growth in the breadth and scope of the US-India relations”.
Terming the US-India ties as “broad, deep and flourishing”, he said the unprecedented growth of the collaboration in the past four years encompassed everything from defense cooperation to agriculture, reflecting the widespread support in both countries to broaden existing ties and build new ones.
Referring to the signing of the 123 Agreement by the two countries for civil nuclear cooperation, he said it capped eight years of efforts to elevate the bilateral relationship to a true strategic partnership.
“Hard work and creative negotiations by both the nations changed the American law and shepherded our agreement through international community in a “diplomatic triumph for both nations”.
Appreciating the State government for leasing out the historic Paigah Palace to serve as a temporary consulate, he said Hyderabad was chosen in clear recognition of its importance as a major social, political and commercial centre.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy described the opening of the US Consulate as a momentous occasion.
It would result in avoiding 65,000 to 70,000 trips each year to Chennai by those seeking US visas.
The Consul General of Hyderabad, Cornelis Keur, acted as the master of ceremonies.
In a brief chat with reporters, Mr. Mulford said that outsourcing was a sensitive issue and it may not come down unless there was a major change in the economy.
Teacher transfers, promotions by year-end
DEOs asked to prepare list of vacancies; Minister takes up the issue with Chief Minister
Government planning to fill 50,000 posts through the DSC this year
‘Care will be taken to ensure there are no legal hassles’
The government is determined to give promotions and effect transfers of teachers within two months despite the Unified Service Rules issue pending with the Central government, as the delay is leading to denial of financial benefits to thousands of teachers.
Transfer and promotions have come to a halt for the last four years owing to the complications over the approval of unified service rules that are being opposed by the government teachers and supported by Panchayat Raj teachers.
The unified service rules would help promotions of over 2.5 lakh teachers.
Sources told The Hindu that the District Education Officers (DEOs) have been asked to prepare a list of vacancies arising out of transfers and promotions based on the present model for both the Government and Panchayat Raj teachers. They will also prepare another list keeping the unified service rules in view.
The DEOs have been instructed to send the lists to the Government by second week of November.
After receiving the lists government wants to arrive at the figure of vacancies to be filled through the District Selection Committee (DSC). “The DSC notification would be issued after the DEOs furnish the lists.
We want to fill about 50,000 posts through the DSC this year and the entire process would be completed by December end. The School Education Minister, Damodar Rajnarsimha, has already spoken to the senior officials and instructed them to work towards that end,” sources said.
However, officials don’t want to take any chances with legal issues. So the entire process would be cleared by the Law Department, the GAD and finally by the Advocate General. All this would be completed by December end. Sources said Mr. Rajnarsimha had a thorough discussion with the Chief Minister on the need to take up transfers and promotions immediately since teachers who retired in the last few years have suffered financially.
“They retired without promotions and that effected on their pension benefits and thousands will retire by this year end,” an official said. However, the government is confident of getting a nod in their favour on the unified service rules.
Congressmen vow to trounce Chiranjeevi in Narsapuram
Leaders take pledge in front of Chief Minister
Chiru’s contribution to his native district questioned
‘Kapu youths’ enthusiasm for PR no longer visible’
In a show of unity, Congress leaders of Narasapuram constituency, in West Godavari district, on Friday took a pledge before Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy to work unitedly and defeat Praja Rajyam party president Chiranjeevi, if he enters the fray from the crucial segment.
This assurance was given by the leaders, headed by Minor Irrigation Minister Maganti Venkateswara Rao, at a review meeting with Dr. Reddy here. They were said to have questioned the actor’s contribution to his home district in the last few decades. Stating that the party was not perturbed by Chiranjeevi’s entry into politics, the leaders vowed to ensure that the PR president lost the polls. “We will work hard and see that the Congress flag flies high in Narsapuram,” they were quoted as telling Dr. Reddy.
The leaders maintained that the enthusiasm shown by Kapu youth before the launch of PR was not visible now. They told the Chief Minister that several mandal-level Telugu Desam Party leaders were joining the Congress.
Dr. Reddy is understood to have told the leaders to sink their differences, go to the grassroots and publicise the government programmes. Asserting that the party was comfortably placed and confident of retaining power, Dr. Reddy wanted partymen to extensively tour villages and interact with people.
At a review with Palacole Congress leaders, former MP Ch. Harirama Jogaiah’s son Ch. Suryaprakash Rao told the Chief Minister that the impact of his father’s exit and his joining the PR was minimal. Only two leaders from Palacole had deserted the party with Mr. Jogaiah, he added.
Rs. 5,000 each to ryots not under Central waiver
Banks told to prepare schedules for disbursal of aid
List of farmers with bank accounts in final stage
Compensation to groundnut ryots after crop-cutting exercise is over
Banks in the State have been asked to prepare schedules to distribute assistance of Rs. 5,000 each to farmers, not covered by the Central waiver scheme, through cheques from November second week.
At a meeting with bankers here on Friday, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy noted that preparation of lists of farmers with bank accounts, left out by the Central scheme had reached the final stage. However, no decision was taken whether to deposit the amount in their accounts or issue individual cheques at functions planned at mandal/Assembly headquarters.
Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy later told presspersons that the decision on the actual date of the functions would be taken by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on October 27.
He said crop-cutting experiments were on under the supervision of specially recruited field staff and officials to assess the damage/loss suffered by groundnut crops in Anantapur district. Once the exercise was over, compensation would be paid to each farmer treating the village as unit.
Mr. Reddy ridiculed Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu waxing eloquent on the woes of groundnut farmers during his visit to Anantapur district and demanding a compensation of Rs. 3,000 per acre against crop loss. He regretted that Mr. Naidu used the visit only to abuse the Chief Minister.
YSR’s road show to take Chiru’s route
The Congress has lined up a series of programmes for Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Sunday, when he undertakes a whirlwind tour of Srikakulam district participating in government programmes as well as road shows covering four Assembly segments.
The route of the road show is similar to the one undertaken by Praja Rajyam president K. Chiranjeevi during his ‘Ankita yatra’ last month. Ten days after the film star’s road shows drew huge crowds, the Congress leaders are going all out to make Dr. Reddy’s daylong trip to Ichchapuram, Harishchandrapuram, Narasannapet and Srikakulam constituencies a resounding success.
Dr. Reddy will fly to Visakhapatnam on Sunday morning and reach Ichchapuram where he will open a park christened ‘Praja Prasthanam Vijaya Vatika’ adjacent to the pylon he had unveiled earlier commemorating his padayatra. He will participate in the ‘Indiramma Sambaralu’ and address a public meeting. Dr. Reddy’s road show will commence from Kotabommali and continue till Srikakulam. He will address roadside meetings. Leaders say that the idea is to enthuse the party workers, but clarified that the road show was not a sequel to Chiranjeevi’s tour of north coastal Andhra. Party leaders said Dr. Reddy decided to visit the districts two days a week after Deepavali. He will also visit West Godavari on November 30 to participate in Indiramma Sambaralu.
YSR rejects plea to allow constructions near lakes
Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy has said a firm “no” to any proposal to amend GO 111, which prohibits layouts and constructions within 10-km radius of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar lakes, the city’s principal sources of drinking water.
At a meeting to review issues relating to urban development here on Friday, sarpanch of Osmansagar-Himayatsagar area K. Satyanarayan Reddy, sought relaxation of the GO to permit layouts and constructions within the stipulated radius.
Responding, the Chief Minister made it clear that the GO should not be flouted and that amendments to it were unnecessary. He directed officials of the Municipal Administration and HMDA to strictly follow the GO.