News in The Hindu
Chief Minister’s new copter arrives
Agusta Westland AW-139 touches down at Begumpet airport
The state-of-the-art new Agusta Westland helicopter, acquired for use by Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy from Italy at a cost of Rs. 58 crore, finally arrived at Begumpet airport late on Wednesday evening.
It was brought in parts to New Delhi a month ago by a transport plane, Antonov-124, for Rs 1.5 crore, but could not be flown to Hyderabad immediately. The one-month period was taken to get the clearances from various Central agencies.
The Agusta Westland AW-139 took off at 11.30 a.m. at Delhi and took over four hours to cover 1,400-km distance before touching down at Begumpet.
Capt M. Jagan Mohan, its pilot, said it was refuelled only at Bhopal though they planned at Nagpur also. Any other chopper would not have been able to cover this much distance at a stretch with single re-fuelling.
Manmohan Singh and K. V. Brahmanand Reddy, secretary and special secretary respectively, Infrastructure, who received the copter at the airport, said the aircraft was “ready in all respects” and would be pressed into service once the Chief Minister indicated his timing.
With this, the Bell 430 presently used by him (acquired for Rs. 20 crore) will be transferred to Andhra Pradesh Aviation Corporation for commercial operations when not wanted by government departments.
The new chopper enjoys several superior features. It weighs 6,400 kg but can fly with a cruise speed of 306 kmph and endurance of five hours and can accommodate 14 persons at a time.
Mr. Reddy said it was a multi-use and multi-role chopper as it could be used for search and rescue operations with a searchlight, for medical emergencies when a long arm would descend from its belly.
It has a baggage space of 120 cubic ft.
The inner space of the aircraft, however, has been modified into a drawing-room like facility for the Chief Minister.
YSR reviews welfare schemes
Chief Minister Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy on Wednesday reviewed the progress of various development activities and schemes being taken up by the government in Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore district.
Mr. Reddy, who was here to participate in a marriage function, met the officials of various departments at the police guest house. According to official sources, the Chief Minister enquired with the Collector about land acquisition process for the newly set up Vikrama Simhapuri University. When the Collector said, 62 acres were allotted to the university, the Chief Minister asked the officials to complete the land acquisition process by next month.
He asked the university Vice-Chancellor C. R. Visweswara Rao to send budget proposals for construction of the new building. The district Collector explained to the Chief Minister about the progress of the irrigation projects taken up in the district.
Later, Mr. Reddy attended the function and left the districtEarlier, Information and Public Relations Minister Anam Ramnarayana Reddy, MLA Anam Vivekananda Reddy, ZP Chairman Kakani Goverdhan Reddy welcomed the Chief Minister.
News in Deccan Chronicle
YSR attends 5 parties in 1 day
It was a day of weddings and betrothals for the Chief Minister, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy. He kept files and meetings at bay on Wednesday and criss-crossed the state to attend five marriages and an engagement ceremony. Dr. Reddy is in great demand for marriages and other functions and with elections just months away, he is finding it difficult to say no.
“We are getting scores of invitations every day requesting the Chief Minister to attend various functions,” said a CMO official. The Chief Minister flew to Nellore last night and attended the wedding of Mr. Anam Santha Ranga Mayur Reddy, son of the Congress MLA, Mr. Anam Vivekananda Reddy. He returned to Hyderabad by helicopter and landed at HICC Madhapur to participate in the wedding of Ms. Sri Shakti, daughter of the MLA, Mr. Pileru Ramachandra Reddy.
Dr. Reddy then drove down to Sampradaya Vedika in Shilparamam at 11 am to bless Dr. Rahul Gandhi Goud, son of Mr. G. Rajesham Goud, a former minister. From there, he went to Hotel Marriott in Tank Bund at 11.30 am to participate in the wedding of Mr. Sunischal Reddy, son of Kondapalli Sudhakar Reddy of Kens Foundation. After a brief halt, the Dr Reddy rushed to Hotel Grand Kakatiya in Begumpet to attend the engagement ceremony of Mr. Vishal, son of the MLA, Mr. Kottu Satyanarayana. Dr. Reddy returned to camp office to take a break and examined some important files and had short meetings with ministers and visitors.
Then he hit the road again to participate in the wedding of Ms. Swetha, daughter of Professor Y. Venkatram Reddy, registrar of the SVU, at the Country Club. “For the rich and powerful, marriage is incomplete without the presence of the Chief Minister,” claimed a senior government official. According to a close aide of Chief Minister, Dr. Reddy decided to attend the weddings despite his eye problem to avoid disappointing anyone.
A glittering affair
Festivities reached a peak at Imperial Gradens, where NTTP president T. Devender Goud’s nephew got married. The venue was choc-a-bloc with family and friends. Home minister K. Jana Reddy and Minister Mukesh Goud blessed the couple and took part in the celebration. The venue was done up grandly. Spotted Nikitha, Shwetha, Samantha, Mrudula, Shilpa, Vineneder, Virender, Vijender, Ashwanth and Kishore Goud among many others.
The guests were raving about the delicious desserts and the elaborate spread served at the wedding.
H ICC was packed with politicos who dropped in to bless MLA Ramachandra Reddy’s daughter Sri Shakthi who was married to Rupak Reddy. CM Rajasekhar Reddy also came in to congratulate the couple. Spotted Minister Shabir Ali among others.
The Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, is still undecided on who should be appointed as the new chief commissioner of land administration. The incumbent, Mr D.K. Panwar, was relieved from duties on Tuesday to take over as chairman and managing director of the food corporation of India. At present, the principal secretary (revenue), Mr G. Sudhir, has been given additional charge as CCLA.
The Chief Minister had overlooked several senior officials belonging to 1973 and 1974 batches while making Mr Panwar CCLA but is reportedly unable to find an able official to replace him. “He will have to choose officials whom we overlooked earlier or pick juniors from the 1975 batch,” said a source close to the Chief Minister.
Sources said the government was not willing to choose Mr V.P. Jauhari, Ms Janaki Kondapi, Mr A.K. Goyal and Priyadarshi Das. The name of the special chief secretary, Mr J.P. Murthy, is doing the rounds. Though Mr Murthy had earlier faced graft charges, the government recently dropped them.
The CM would find it difficult to pick anyone from 1975 batch as several officials are holding good posts in the Centre and are in no mood to come back while others are reluctant to take up the sensitive job of CCLA a few months before elections. Mr Bhale Rao had a stint in as special commissioner in the CCLA office but was moved out by the government. Mr S.V. Prasad has already opted for the post of APGenco chairman citing health reasons.
Warring Congress groups of Kovur constituency met the Chief Minister Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, during his visit to Nellore to attend the marriage of Nellore legislator, Mr. Anam Vivekananda Reddy’s son on Wednesday. It may be recalled that a section of party leaders raised a tirade against Kovur legislator, Mr. Polamreddy Srinivasulu Reddy, for ignoring party loyalists and giving importance to leaders who had migrated from the TD.
The groups led by party leaders Mr. Chevuru Devakumar Reddy and Mr Pattabhirami Reddy almost came to blows with the MLA’s supporters, allegedly following provocation by the latter on Sunday during a meeting at Kovur. The CM reportedly directed the district in-charge minister, Mr. Pinnamaneni Venkateswar Rao, to sort out the issue.
In this backdrop, party leader Mr. Devakumar Reddy met the CM and is said to have complained about the MLA’s anti party activities. Mr. Venkateswar Rao spoke to the Kovur MLA for a while to seek an explanation on the issue, as also some senior leaders in the district. Sources in the party said that the CM had not entertained both the groups and had asked the in-charge minister to deal with the subject.
Mr. Devakumar Reddy said that he had explained their version to Mr. Venkateswar Rao. He said that the minister had assured to resolve the tangle. Though he was at the guesthouse, Kovur legislator, Mr. Polamreddy Srinivasulu Reddy remained aloof.
Though it is almost an year since the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, had promised flood relief assistance of Rs 2,400 per acre to aqua farmers, relief is yet to reach farmers.
Aqua culture was damaged in more than 11,000 acres because of floods during October 2007 and the CM had assured to compensate the loss while visiting the flood hit areas. It has been a long wait for flood hit aqua farmers who lost mature shrimp just before harvesting although the officials of fisheries completed the survey and collected applications from farmers to release compensation.
Officials had identified 4,449 hectares (11,120 acres) as damaged in Vidavalur, Kodavalur, Indukurpeta, TP Gudur and Chillakur mandals and estimated the compensation at Rs 2.66 crore at the rate of Rs 2,400 per acre in November 2007. Though they sent proposals to government, there has been no move from government to sanction aid. Farmers have submitted several representations during the last one year but failed to evoke response.
In this backdrop a team met the CM during the Assembly sessions on November 6 and the CM had directed his private secretary to release the amount immediately. However, the status remains the same even now. Not only this, several other promises made by the CM during his visits to the district are waiting to be fulfilled. For instance, he assured white ration cards for Apache footwear company employees drawing salaries less than Rs 5,000 during his visit to Tada in March this year.
In that case, the government will be forced to follow suit all over the state. “The CM assured white ration cards the staff only if it is feasible,” a senior official said, interpreting the CM’s directions and indicating that it was impossible to implement the promise.
In another instance, the fate of allotting 1 tmc of water from Somasila to the water starved Udayagiri constituency is hanging in the balance since two years. The CM had announced allotment of the same during his visit in June 2006. He had also given his nod for allotting the required funds and sanctioned Rs 67 crore. However, the project is yet to take off due to insufficient funds, according to the officials of the Rural Water Supply Department.
Chief Minister’s new helicopter arrives