Raghuveera Asks Naidu To Clarify On Central Funds To AP

APCC chief Raghuveera Reddy had asked CM Naidu to clarify on Central government funds given to the State. He said Finance Minister Jaitely had admitted to have given Rs 10,500 crore to AP, while Amit Shah had claimed to have given Rs 1.75 lakh crore.

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president N Raghuveera Reddy has asked Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to clarify on the statements of BJP leaders on giving funds to the State. Raghuveera Reddy said that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had admitted in the Parliament that the Central government had given Rs 10,500 crore financial assistance to the State, while BJP national president Amit Shah had claimed to have given Rs 1.75 lakh crore. He said that people were confused over the two different statements on the Central assistance to the State and wanted Chandrababu Naidu to clarify.

He said that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has given clarity on Amit Shah’s statement with statistical evidence and proved the BJP chief wrong in regard to the figures of financial support to the government. He wanted similar clarification by Chandrababu Naidu to clear the doubts on the Central government’s assistance to the State. He wondered why Chandrababu Naidu was silent on Amit Shah’s claims and wanted to know if the AP CM was afraid of BJP leaders.

The APCC chief accused Naidu of borrowing money and wasting it at the cost of the people. Stating that 15 Chief Ministers of the State in the past 58 years have borrowed ₹ 1 lakh crore for the State, Raghuveera alleged that Naidu alone in the last three years had borrowed ₹ 1.16 lakh crore. He alleged that Naidu was wasting money pushing the State into a debt trap. He took a dig at Naidu for spending peoples’ money on his pleasure trips and benefiting his own party contractors.

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Is TDP Getting Weakened Because Of Its Own Strategy?

In AP Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has perpetrated something of which it is a victim in neighbouring Telangana. While TRS attracted all mass leaders from the TDP in Telangana, TDP implemented the same strategy in AP and attracted MLAs from YSRCP in a bid to weaken the opposition.

Amaravati: These days it has become common for the parties that won the elections to attract strong leaders from their rival parties by hook or crook to weaken them. Every party that criticised the ruling party for resorting to such tactics is adopting the same strategy to weaken opposition where it is a ruling party.

In Andhra Pradesh, too Telugu Desam Party has done something which it suffered in Telangana. While TRS attracted all its mass leaders in Telangana, TDP has been applying the same strategy and attracted leaders from YSR Congress Party in a bid to weaken it.

But, now the same Telugu Desam Party is paying for its unprincipled politics. They calculated that YSRCP will automatically crumble if they get the leaders despite opposition from within. Sources say that Naidu justified his act by saying that the number of constituencies is going to increase and there will not be any problem.

Forget the increase of constituencies, the mess in Telugu Desam reached the peak. The floor crossing into Telugu Desam led to political murders. The leaders who were MLAs and MLCs clashed openly before the ministers who were present at that venue. But all the ministers remained silent witnesses. In fact, the whole State is observing these internal fights in Telugu Desam Party.

Whatever Naidu’s intention might be in attracting the opposition MLAs, it is leading to political murders. People who are observing these developments are saying that TDP is destroying itself instead of damaging the YSRCP.

Such fights are not limited to Prakasham district. Rivalries are simmering in all the constituencies though dormant. At least half a dozen districts are acutely affected. From Anantapur to Northern Andhra Pradesh one can find such groupism and internecine battles going on at many places.

As every party is gearing up for the next elections, such incidents will not go well with the image of the party. Naidu might want and try to keep his house in order, but will he succeed?

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Governor halts AP cabinet rejig?

  • Lokesh has to wait till year end
  • Naidu awaits new Governor

Ankababu Kollu

Vijayawada: The much awaited AP cabinet expansion, as a part of which Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu wanted to induct his son Lokesh, is not going ahead because of Governor ESL Narasimhan, according to reliable sources.

Naidu wanted to reconstitute his cabinet by dropping five to six present ministers and take around eight to ten new faces including Nara Lokesh.

Ankababu

Ankababu Kollu

Entire media and political circles were expecting it around Dussera. Naidu wanted to take about four legislators who joined from YSRCP. Bhuma Nagi Reddy or Akhilapriya, Jyothula Nehru, Amarnath Reddy, Sujayakrishna  Ranga Rao and Jaleelkhan  were expected to be among the new faces.

Chandramohan Reddy, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Kodela Sivaprasad, Sriram Tataiah, Anitha besides Lokesh were expected from the original TDP legislature party.

It seems Naidu informed about his plan for the cabinet reshuffle when he met the Governor recently and hinted at taking some from the lot that crossed over to TDP from the YSRCP.

Governor Narasimhan, citing the issue of Talasani Srinivasa Yadav, minister in Telangana cabinet, who crossed from TDP to TRS and whose resignation from the Assembly was not accepted by Speaker Madhusudana Chary at the time is swearing in. It was challenged in High Court and the TDP, particularly Naidu, had criticised Governor Narasimhan for administering the oath of office to Chalasani when he was a TDP legislator technically. The issue is still pending in Hyderabad High Court with a direction to Speaker to take a decision in three months.

Though the direction from High Court did not come by the time Naidu met Governor, it seems Governor objected to include in the cabinet those who are technically YSRCP MLAs.

 If the cabinet reshuffle is done without taking those who crossed over from the YSRCP, there is bound to be a political crisis in the ruling party.

It seems Naidu did not want to get another problem by expanding the cabinet before the HC takes a final view. Even the Speaker is reportedly not in favour of including the YSRCP legislators in the cabinet.

Sidda Raghava Rao, Prathipati Pullarao, Ravella Kishorebabu, Kollu Ravindra, Palle Raghunadha Reddy are understood to be in the axing list.  They are happy with this development since their positions are secure for now.

Naidu is very eager to induct  his son into the cabinet. But he cannot take Lokesh alone leaving others in lurch. Such an act of indiscretion by the CM would be making a number of new enemies. As everybody knows, there are no cordial relations between the Governor and the CM. None is surprised at the Governor’s reaction on CM’s proposal to include YSRCP MLAs in the cabinet.

Lot of speculation has been going on in political corridors that Narasimhan will be replaced with a new governor shortly which will give some relief to Naidu.

As against this background, the cabinet reshuffle is unlikely to happen till end of the year due to the new developments that had taken place in the last couple of weeks.

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Pattiseema project: Boon or bane?

Primepost News Desk

Krishna and Godavari rivers are lifelines for Telugu people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The people are emotionally and spiritually attached to the two rivers and their tributaries, as these are considered sacred.

So, when AP Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu created a history of sorts by linking Krishna and Godavari through Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme on Wednesday, there was jubilation in Krishna and Godavari districts. Hope is also held out for the four dry districts of Rayalaseema that surplus water would irrigate farm lands in Kadapa, Kurnool, Chittoor and Anantapur districts and supply drinking water to them.

Earlier in the day, Chandrababu switched on a giant pump at Pattiseema village of Polavaram mandal in West Godavari district to allow Godavari water to flow into Krishna through the right main canal of Polavaram project which is under construction.

On September 1, Godavari water was released from another lift irrigation project at Tatipudi to flow 174km through a canal to reach Nunna on the outskirts of Vijayawada city. With water from Pattiseema and Tatipudi reservoir, the flow would be continuous. The final phase of linking Godavari and Krishna was done ceremoniously by Chandrababu at Ibrahimpatnam  when he released the Godavari water into Krishna at Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada.

This was historic, in a sense, because a project of such magnitude was completed in a record 165 days. Foundation stone was laid on March 29 this year and on August 15, first phase of the project was completed. It has some other firsts to its credit: Pattiseema is South India’s first river integration project and the fastest ever completed in the country.

The ruling Telugu Desam Party has touted it as an example of AP Chief Minister’s administrative skills and determination to complete the project as part of his promise to farmers to make water available for their crops and meet the drinking water needs of lakhs of people.

However, not everyone is convinced by the arguments advanced by government officials and TDP leaders that Pattiseema is a boon to Andhra Pradesh. Some farmers’ bodies and opposition YSR Congress and left parties have junked the claims.

Among the benefits listed are, the Krishna-Godavari link would reap rich dividends for coastal farmers by making more water available in Krishna at Prakasam barrage. But the assertion has a counter: its storage capacity is limited and it can’t be increased. Moreover, silting over the years has reduced its storage level drastically. At its peak, 80 tmcft of surplus Godavari water can be released at Pattiseema. Can Krishna take in that much water?

The AP government’s rejoinder is: Water level in Krishna has been coming down because of dams constructed in the upper reaches by Karnataka. Since Almatti dam’s height was increased, down flow of Krishna has reduced drastically and what reaches Prakasam Barrage is the water released from Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar reservoirs. So, it is absolutely essential to supplement inflows at the barrage to meet drinking and farm demands of Krishna and Guntur districts. Moreover, water from Pattiseema will be released according to a mechanism that takes into account river levels and usage since the link is designed to act as a balance.

Once the mechanism is in place – all the 24 pumps should  be operational by March next year —  Pattiseema and Polavaram (after its completion) projects are expected to take care of the needs of the delta region while Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam water can be utilized for Rayalaseema. The principal aim of the entire scheme is to manage available water resources in a more efficient way.

Despite some convincing facts, fears have been expressed over the project’s impact on environment and doubts raised about the need for Pattiseema project and its cost. Allegations of corruption too are galore.

 Ecologists fear irreparable damage to the environment because of the link canal.  Loss of habitat in the canal area, change in water tables and soil conditions are some of the concerns. Since the two rivers have different characteristics and water compositions they can adversely affect fish grounds and aquatic life in estuaries. Environmentalists see a big threat to mangroves and the delta system because of curtailed water discharge into the sea.

Project opponents have questioned the need to construct Pattiseema when Polavaram is designed to serve the same purpose. When Pattiseema is only a stop-gap arrangement, why Chandrababu Naidu got it executed on a war footing is the refrain.

Among the allegations are the exorbitant project cost and lack of transparency. The estimated project cost was Rs 1007 crores. But the AP government had hiked it by about 20 per cent while awarding the contract to MEIL Company. Normally, 5% increase over the estimate is permitted. But 15% more was offered to complete the project within the stipulated period. Since it was completed ahead of the deadline, the contractor will get the extra amount. Thus the total cost will now stand at Rs 1,300 crores. The opposition alleges kickbacks in the deal.

Despite legal and rival challenges, the TDP government has succeeded in linking Krishna and Godavari, a dream of lakhs of farmers in AP who are expected to benefit immensely. If the scheme is successful, it may pave the way for linking more rivers in the coming years. (See Rivers of politics)

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