Selling dreams to hapless people
Telugu CMs indulging in grandiose plans with near empty coffers
- Unable to sit across the table to resolve contentious issues
- Delhi forced to play referee
- Student community and farmers are worst sufferers
- Governance in shambles as IAS officers are yet to be allotted
- 6 months passed since bifurcation
Hyderabad, November 30: Six months have passed since the two states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were formed. They have been caught in a slew of intractable issues impeding the governance and development. Small things like conducting examinations for Intermediate students have become major issues warranting the intervention of the courts and the central governments.
Two Neros are ruling the new states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The original Nero was fiddling while Rome was burning, the neo Neros of Telugu states have been indulging in irresponsible promises and grandiose plans while the farmers are committing suicide and the students are spending sleepless nights not knowing when their exams would be held.
Ration cards, pensions, college admissions have been the major concerns that have been agitating the minds of the people. Farmers in Telangana districts of Medak (which elected Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao-KCR), Warangal and Adilabad and AP district of Anantapur have been committing suicides in hundreds. Both the chief ministers are avers to talking about the human tragedy leave alone taking remedial measures. The revenue officials have been orally asked not to record the suicides of the farmers as farm-related. There have been more than 400 suicides by farmers after the formation of Telangana state and about 60 farmers in Anantapur district killed themselves due to debt burden.
The Intermediate students are anxiously waiting for their examination schedules. Students of both the states are caught in a controversy between the two state governments. Courts were approached delaying the decision making process. Governor ESL Narasimhan was summoned by the Centre to find a solution to the problems. He is visiting Delhi for three days from Monday. The Chief Secretaries of both the states have been visiting Delhi instead of meeting in Hyderabad to sort out problems. Chief Ministers who are not capable of resolving issues that are affecting the student community are indulging in big talk. They are not taking any measures to discuss the problems thrown up by bifurcation of the state. Most of the issues can be resolved amicably if both the CMs sit across the table with their officials and discuss matters threadbare. But the goodwill is missing and the result is avoidable inconvenience and loss. Students have been the worst affected by the lack of concern on the part of the state governments. Things have been mismanaged thoroughly by the officers of the education departments and the Council of Higher Education. Telangana government had appointed its own Council and chairman adding to the confusion. The politicians and bureaucrats together had botched up the matters making life miserable for the students and their patents.
Even the Union Government has been playing spectator without taking fast decisions regarding distribution of officers. Six months have passed since the two states have been formed, and the exercise by the committee appointed by the Centre to distribute the All India Services officers has not yet been completed. It might take another six months if things go at the same slow pace. There were hints in the air of allocation of officers to either AP or Telangana. This has been the source of uncertainty. Officers working for Telangana government presently but sure of moving to AP are not able to concentrate on the job on hand. Same is the case with the officers working in AP. A sense of finality is needed for the governments to concentrate on governance.
While this is the sad state of affairs in the Telugu states, the chief ministers have been indulging in grandiose plans of developing their cities on lines of London, New York, Chicago and Singapore. Both the politicians belong to the same school. If the Telangana CM comes from a feudal background, the AP CM is from a community known for its enterprise and market-savvy attitude. Both have been waxing eloquent when it comes to implementing welfare measures, but their heart lies in market and foreign dreams. While KCR was promising to develop Karimnagar which elected him to Lok Sabha in 2004 into a London and Hyderabad into a New York, both he and Naidu are on the same page as far as love for Singapore is concerned. Both want to fashion the development of their region on lines of Singapore which has no geographical or demographical resemblance with the Telugu states. While AP and Telangana have farmers or farm labourers comprising 60 percent of the population, Singapore has no farmers to speak of. How can the Telugu states copy Singapore is a question that is never discussed. The politicians and officials in both the states are enamoured of the chief ministers and no one dares to say anything against their masters. The latest crazy idea in KCR’s wild dreams is to build skyscrapers around Hussain Sagar Lake which is sought to be emptied and cleaned before filling with pure water. A skyscraper taller than the 2,722-foot-tall Burj Khalipha of Dubai is dreamed by Telangana CM. He wants to build such towers around the historic lake as the towers are there on the bank of Hudson river in New York. KCR has also promised to build three more airports in Hyderabad. He has just cleared a Rs 800 crore proposal to improve Rajiv Rahadari between Hyderabad and Karimnagar. Besides this, he has repeatedly assured the people of a highly expensive water grid to supply driking water to all the villages in Telangana state.
Compared to the dreams of KCR, Naidu’s dreams are crazier and more colourful. He told the people of AP that he intends to build three international airports at three mega cities of Vijyawada, Vizag and Tirupati besides 14 airports across the state. First he thought of Singapore as a model, then shifted to Putrajaya near Kuala Lumpur and again to Chicago. He is drifting back to Singapore again. Naidu is planning for 13 seaports along 1000 km long coast. Most important dream is about the capital city to be built in 30,000 acres at a cost of a whopping Rs 1, 13, 000 crore between Vijayawada and Guntur. He is also planning for IT corridor between Kakinada and Vizag at an expense of Rs 30,000 crore. Naidu is just back from a five-day visit to Japan. He said he would be visiting the country once in every six months. He is confident of wooing huge investments from Japan. In the meanwhile, KCR has got an invitation to visit China. The competition between the two gladiators goes on in every aspect.
In his single-minded focus on building a world-class capital, Naidu is prepared to force the farmers to forfeit their lands for a package he is offering. The process of taking over the farmlands is going to be difficult with many farmers refusing to fall in line. But he would not give up.