News in Deccan Chronicle
Indira statue still not done
‘The CM had planned to get the stat- use unveiled by Ms. Sonia Gandhi, on’ Nov. 19 that date will pass this year too.
Installation of a statue of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the traffic island near IMAX Theatre remains a distant dream for the Chief Minister, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, even four-and-ahalf years after taking over power.
Dr. Reddy had planned to get the statue unveiled by the Congress president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, on November 19 (Indira Gandhi’s birthday). That date will pass this year too, without the statue being in place.
Dr. Reddy had first given the responsibility of installing the statue to the erstwhile Hyderabad Urban Development Authority. Huda selected Mr. Ramarao, a famous sculptor from Kottapet in East Godavari district for the job.
According to Mr. D. Sudhir Reddy, ex-chairman of Huda, “The clay model was not attractive. We cancelled the contract.” The job was then entrusted to Mr. Mallu Ravi, special representative of the government in New Delhi, he said. “I don’t know what happened after that.” In 2006, the Chief Minister entrusted the job to Ms Latika Katt from New Delhi who runs an institution in Varanasi. Mr. Ravi, now the MLA from Jedcherla, said, “We visited Varanasi several times but the work was progressing very slowly.” Vexed, the Chief Minister the entrusted the job to the cultural department.
The director of cultural affairs, Mr. Rallabandi Kavita Prasad, said, “The job was entrusted to us three days ago. We have identified Mr. Peeran, a professor of JNTU, for making the bronze statue at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh.” “We were told that the clay model would be ready in 15 days, and the casting would be completed in two months,” Mr. Prasad said. “We hope the statue would be ready by January next.” What will happen if the Varanasi statue comes along? The government adviser, Dr. K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, said, “Our priority is to see the statue in place by January. If the Varanasi statue comes after that, we may install it at some other place or replace the one at the IMAX crossroads.
Striking a strong pose, the state government has put off the scheduled talks between the minister for school education, Mr. Damodara Rajanarasimha, and the agitating Joint Action Committee of Teachers Organisation (Jacto), on Sunday. Meanwhile, Jacto has resolved to intensify its agitation which has entered the fifth day and announced a further five-day state-wide agitation.
The government has also directed the district education officers (DEOs) to take action against the mandal education officers, headmasters and Vidya volunteers, if they participate in the strike. This follows reports that lakhs of schoolchildren were denied mid-day meals in schools due to the absence of headmasters.
“MEOs and headmasters cannot participate in the strike as they belong to the gazetted officer cadre. Even Vidya volunteers cannot join the strike as they are contract employees. We have directed them to join the duties immediately. If they do not, action will be initiated against them,” said the school education director, Mr. P. Bhanu Murthy.
On Sunday, the teachers staged demonstrations in front of the residences of ministers in several districts. Political parties including the Telugu Desam, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, Bharatiya Janata Party, Praja Rajyam, CPI and the CPI (M) have also extended their support to the strike. The TRS has also issued an ultimatum to the government resolve the teacher’s demands within 24 hours and threatened to convert the teachers’ agitation into people’s movement.
Mr. Rajaranarasimha who was scheduled to meet the Chief Minister, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, on Sunday, could not do so as Dr Reddy had gone a ‘Road Show’ to Srikakulam. However, Mr. Rajaranarasimha is expected to meet the Chief Minister on Monday.
The state government is likely to felicitate Ms Thuljabai of Bhainsa on AP Formation Day, November 1, for bravery. Ms Thuljabai had rescued five members of a family when miscreants set fire to their home during the violence in the town recently. Ms Thuljabai also provided shelter to the family. Sources said the family began shouting for help when their house was set on fire.
Hearing their screams, Ms Thuljabai came out of her house and found the attackers still hanging around. Though they warned her against helping the family, she argued with them for targeting innocent people. Then, unmindful of the warnings and her own safety, she rescued the family and took them to her house.
The collector, Mr Ahmed Nadeem, the superintendent of police, Mr Anil Kumar and ministers who visited Bhainsa praised Ms Thuljabai for rescuing the family. Mr Nadeem, Mr Kumar and the Nirmal RDO, Mr Venkateshwarlu, forwarded Ms Thuljabai’s name to the government for the communal harmony award. It is learnt that she would be felicitated by the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, during the Formation Day fete in Hyderabad.
The state Congress has decided to become aggressive in the run up to the general election by targeting traditional Telugu Desam seats which it never won, except once since the TD came into existence in 1983. As many as 51 Assembly constituencies were out of Congress’ reach till the 2004 election. In that year it improved its position by winning 31 constituencies for the first time. However, even after the 2004 elections, there are 20 Assembly seats, which were never won by the Congress. In another 51 seats it won only once.
“This time the Chief Minister is more concerned about these segments and wants to create history by winning them,” said a senior minister in the Cabinet. The Chief Minister has been holding regular meetings and constituency reviews to know the feedback in the critical constituencies. He is holding Assembly segment-wise meetings with all the local leaders almost every day. Sources in the party said that the Chief Minister has also directed the in-charge minister and district minister to win over the local strongmen so that there would be an exodus of cadre from the major Opposition party.
Narsapuram in West Godavari, Harischandrapuram in Srikakulam, Narsipatnam in Visakhapatnam and Tuni in East Godavari districts have already been reviewed by the Chief Minister last week. Senior TD leader, Mr Y. Ramakrishnudu, has been representing the Tuni Assembly constituency since 1983. Similarly the TD Parliamentary Party leader, Mr K. Yerrannaidu and his brother Achhem Naidu made the Harishchandrapuram Assembly seat a tough proposition for the Congress. Narsapuram and Achanta in West Godavari district has also eluded the party for a long time.
“In 2004 we succeeded in 31 constituencies which were never won by us. We are going to improve that record,” said Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy, Chief Whip of the government. Some of the seats were held by the Left parties including Bhadrachalam, Yllendu in Khammam district and Nakirekal in Nalgonda, also not won by the Congress as the seats lost in alliances. “This time as there will not be any alliance with the Left parties we are sure they will join our kitty” said Mr N Manohar, Congress state general secretary and MLA. In Hyderabad Karwaan, Yakutpura, Charminar and Chandrayangutta Assembly segments also never won by the Congress.
The Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, kicked off his first pre-poll road show on Sunday and took three Assembly constituencies by storm where Chiranjeevi had recently toured. He requested the people to bless his government and strengthen his hands in the next elections as he had kept all his election promises.
Dr Reddy started the programme at Itchapuram 100 kms from here before hitting the road from Narsannapeta to Srikakulam, at a distance of about 30 km. He participated in Indiramma Sambarulu and other government functions. The Chief Minister had ended his marathon 1,600 km padayatra at Itchapuram five years ago after he began it from Chevella in Ranga Reddy district
“This government has done well to you and your families. We kept all our election promises. Bless us and strengthen my hands,” Dr Reddy said amidst cheers from people at Narsannapeta. Dr Reddy took on Chiranjeevi, indirectly and the TD president, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, directly during his dozen odd whistle stop meetings on the 30-km road show from Narasannapeta to Srikakulam. “The Opposition has set aside ideology and is ganging up with a single point programme to defeat the Congress,” he said.
Sources in the Congress said the road show was primarily aimed at neutralising Chiranjeevi’s road show, which also attracted huge crowds. Dr Reddy opened a Tourism Park and a municipal office complex at Itchapuram, addressed Indiramma Sambaramulu meeting at Kotabommali, before launching the 30-km road show.
News in The Hindu
Rs. 2,000 crore for housing in Anantapur district
The Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy government was spending about Rs. 2,000 crore in the district to provide shelter to the poor and downtrodden in the society.
With the completion of about 2 lakh houses, the dreams of owning a house by the poor were being realised in a phased manner, Minister for Panchayat Raj J.C. Diwakar Reddy said at Pamidi on Sunday.
Speaking at the Indiramma Sambaralu meeting, the Minister said the Congress government in the State was making all efforts to provide the three basic needs of shelter, food and clothing through its schemes. The eligible poor were being provided succour irrespective of their caste and creed, he said. The elderly, widows, physically challenged and aged weavers were also being given social security pensions.
While States like Tamil Nadu and Punjab had withdrawn the free power scheme to farming, the Rajasekhara Reddy government was continuing it for the last four-and-half years without any problem.
The previous TDP government had sanctioned only 115 houses to Pamidi mandal in nine years while the Congress government had sanctioned 3,800 houses and 3,034 pensions in the third phase of Indiramma.
Houses for SCs and STs were being constructed by the government by taking complete responsibility, he noted.
Zilla Parishad Chairperson T. Kavitha and Anantapur MP A. Venkatarami Reddy said the government had sanctioned 5.65 lakh houses to the district during the last four years.
They assured the farming community of all help in the face of total groundnut crop failure this season. The farmers who were not covered under loan waiver scheme would be paid Rs. 5,000 each on November 19, the birthday of late Indira Gandhi.
YSR government most corrupt, says CPI leader
Says huge money being made in shady deals
‘Jalayagnam the major source of illegal earning’
Probe into all corruption charges demanded
People of Andhra Pradesh were witnessing the most corrupt government in the State since its formation in the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy-led Congress government, State president of A.P. Rythu Sangham and national council member of CPI K. Ramakrishna observed here on Sunday.
Corruption had gone beyond limits at all levels as the Chief Minister himself was encouraging his supporters earn through corrupt practices either directly or indirectly, he told newspersons.
The Chief Minister would go all out in helping his supporters make huge money with shady deals without caring even an iota about what people would think, the CPI leader said.
The Jalayagnam programme taken up by the government was the major source of corruption and illegal earning.
As a result, the Chief Minister’s supporters became billionaires overnight by getting huge amounts as advances without even grounding works, he alleged. Ministers, legislators and the official machinery were all involved in corruption. He demanded that the government order a comprehensive probe into all corruption charges against all functionaries by a sitting judge of High Court, if it was sincere in fighting corruption.
YSR hits out at ‘desperate’ opposition
Chief Minister criticises parties for ‘unholy alliances’ and for obstructing development
Lists out the government’s achievements
Cautions people against promises made by TD, others
A fortnight after Praja Rajyam president Chiranjeevi hit the road; Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy took Harishchandrapuram, Narasannapet and Srikakulam Assembly segments by storm during his whirlwind tour on Sunday.
He virtually launched his party’s election campaign from this key North Coastal Andhra district by launching a trenchant attack on the opposition, including the newly launched PR, for ‘forging unholy alliances and for obstructing the development of the State’.
Travelling on the same route that the actor had taken earlier this month, the Chief Minister laced his brief speeches with highlights of his government’s achievements and then putting the ball in the people’s court to decide whether or not the Congress deserved a second chance.
He cautioned people against falling prey to the promises being made by the TDP and others.
The Congress had planned the road show in an attempt to neutralize the impact of Chiranjeevi’s tour.
Thousands of people including a large number of women lined the 30 km long stretch from Kotabommali from where Dr. Reddy began his road show covering Narasannapet, Komarthi, Madapam, Bhyri Junction, Singupuram, Peddapadu and Ramalakshmana Junction before entering this town at Arsavalli temple.
A sore point in the show was a demonstration staged by representatives of striking teachers who flashed placards seeking the Chief Minister’s intervention for ending their agitation.
Speaking from atop his specially-designed bus, Dr. Reddy ridiculed what he called “the desperate attempts” of the opposition parties to defeat the Congress by stooping and striking bargains for sharing power thereafter. “Will such an arrangement help in development of the State?” he asked.
He charged TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu of attempting to dilute every programme his government had introduced.
“Did the TDP government ever think of introducing health insurance for the rural poor or introduce ‘108’ ambulance services, for the needy people?” he asked.
The crowds lustily cheered him when he mimicked the sound of the siren of an approaching 108 ambulance.
Dr. Reddy travelled along with Ministers Dharmana Prasada Rao and Botcha Satyanarayana.
Traffic on NH-5 hit
Traffic on the arterial NH-5 connecting Visakhapatnam to Kolkata was badly disrupted as people flocked to catch a glimpse of the Chief Minister.
Rs.100 crores earmarked for fee reimbursement of EBCs: YSR
In an apparent bid to target youth just before the elections, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Sunday announced the decision to earmark at least Rs.100 crores in the vote-on-account budget in February for reimbursement of fees of economically backward class (EBC) students.
Addressing students from Andhra University and members of National Students’ Union of India at the airport during a transit halt here, he said the fees would be reimbursed even in professional colleges teaching engineering and medicine. The Government had already issued orders for full reimbursement of fees for backward classes this year.
Dr. Reddy, who was accorded a warm welcome on arrival in a special flight on his way to Srikakulam, said during this year, the Government had sanctioned Rs.30 crores for EBC students of which Rs.10 crores was being released for Kapus. He said the income limit for EBCs had been raised from Rs.12,000 to Rs.1 lakh to extend the facility to more.
Describing as a ‘role model initiative’, he said for the first time, EBC students need not pay the fee of Rs.36,000 annually for engineering and Rs.55,000 for medicine from next year. He said the incentive was already available for SC, ST, BC and minorities.
Praising Rajiv Udyogsri programme, he said they were training even those who could not complete 10th class. For the first time in the country, jobless youth were being trained and provided suitable jobs after making a budgetary allocation for Rs.436 crores. Job melas were being held regularly.
The Chief Minister said they were training students on soft skills by setting up Jawahar Knowledge Centres so as to provide them opportunities in business process outsourcing units.
He blamed the Telugu Desam for shutting down AP Public Service Commission when it was in power. Minister for Commercial Taxes Konathala Ramakrishna, District Collector Sanjeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police N. Sambasiva Rao, city MLAs S. Rangaraju, D. Srinivasa Rao, T. Gurmurthy Reddy and others were present.
YSR’s directive on Gangavaram port
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Sunday reportedly asked officials to complete all formalities for the commissioning of the Gangavaram Port.
At a review meeting he held with Minister for Commercial Taxes Konathala Ramakrishna, district Collector Sanjeev Kumar and others, he wanted that the port should be made ready at the earliest.
He was explained about convincing a section of fishermen of Dibbapalem to vacate the village and accept the compensation package offered by the government. The private port management delayed inauguration of the first phase with five berths due to problems with regard to arriving at a consensus over the compensation package. The management, which already took up trial run of handling cargo vessels, is trying to invite UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for its inauguration during her next visit to the State.
Students hail decision
The Andhra University Economically Backward Classes Students’ Association thanked Dr. Reddy for deciding to allot Rs. 100 crores for scholarships of EBC students pursuing professional courses in the vote-on-account budget.
The association has been pursuing with the government to extend scholarship benefit to EBC students and also got the GO issued recently. Several association members met the Chief Minister at the airport to thank him.
Scores of students from Andhra University urged Dr. Reddy to convince his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to plunge into active politics. The Chief Minister, however, did not respond and just smiled away. Raising full-throated slogans, the group of students expressed its gratitude to Dr. Reddy for his decision to reimburse fees for SC, ST, BC and minority communities at a meeting held near the airport. Earlier, the Chief Minister released a pamphlet brought out by NSUI on the student welfare measures being launched by the Congress Government.