Southern States Most Corrupt: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu top the list

A survey conducted by Centre for Media Studies has revealed that Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jammu Kashmir and Punjab thrive on corruption in accessing public services

New Delhi: Petty corruption in the country between 2013 and 2017 has been on a decline, found a new survey. The survey conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), said that the perception and experience of corruption in public services have been on a decline.

The study was released by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy. Around 3,000 households from over 200 rural and urban clusters of 20 States were surveyed as part of this.

Three south Indian States Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu; Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab were amongst the first ten States that experienced corruption in accessing public services. While Karnataka stood first with 77% of corruption, Andhra Pradesh 74%, Tamil Nadu 68%, Maharashtra 57%, Jammu Kashmir 44%, and Punjab with 42%.
The households across 20 States paid a bribe of Rs. 6350 crores in 2017 against 20,500 crores in 2005, to access 10 public services, the report said.

The key reasons for paying a bribe to access a public service remained the same between 2005 and 2017, said CMS chairman N Bhaskara Rao. This only points out that ground level issues were not taken into consideration while addressing corruption, he added.

Saying that they were producing reports on corruption for several years, Rao told that they wanted the NITI Aayog to take note of these as they are the policy makers.

Bihar (74%), Jammu, Kashmir (69%), Odisha (60%), Rajasthan (59%) and Tamil Nadu (59%) were the most corrupt cases in 2005, said CMS.

The institution also held a telephonic survey in January on the impact of demonetization with a random selection across 20 States. While fifty percent respondents felt the level of corruption between November –December last year has reduced, 12 percent opined that graft has increased during that time, while 21 per cent felt that there was no change in the situation, explained the survey.

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Farmers’ Leaders Oppose Amit Shah’s Visit To AP

Leaders of farmers’ associations have opposed the visit of BJP chief Amit Shah to AP as BJP had failed to fulfil its promises given to the State during last elections.

Amaravati: Leaders of various farmers’ associations have written an open letter to BJP national president Amit Shah opposing his visit to the State scheduled for May 25. The leaders, All India Kisan Sabha national vice-president Ravula Venkaiah, Krishna Delta Protection Committee convener Kolanukonda Sivaji, Andhra Pradesh Federation of Farmers’ Association president Yerneni Nagendranath, Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham president Y Kesava Rao and Andhra Pradesh Kisan Congress president J Gurunatham, in a letter, asked Amit Shah to justify the Central government’s denial of Special Category Status for the State. They said that the BJP leaders have no right to visit the State as they have failed to fulfil the promises given to the people at the time of election. They further recalled that the BJP leaders at the Tirupati election meeting have promised 10 years of Special Category Status to the State, fill the Rs 16,000 crore revenue gap, fund the prestigious Polavaram Project and the Capital city and establishing railway zone for the State.

The farmers’ leaders said that the BJP government had failed to fulfil not even a single promise. The revenue gap was not filled yet. The government did not take up the Polavaram project with full funds. The government had not released money for the capital city and had left the issue to the State government dropping the Sivaramakrishnan Committee recommendations, they alleged. The railway zone is not yet cleared despite the people fighting for it, they said.

The leaders accused the BJP and the TDP government of going against the interests of the farmers. The governments have neglected Andhra Pradesh in river water sharing and had not fulfilled the promise of total loan waiver for the farmers. The TDP had compromised with the BJP leadership on dropping the special category status and had settled for the special package. Even the package was not given the Constitutional guarantee, they said.

Having failed to help the State after bifurcation and having failed to fulfil even a single promise, the BJP chief had no right to visit the people, they asserted. They appealed to the farmers, farm labourers and the people across the State to hold protests against the visit of Amit Shah to the State.

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HCL to emerge as trend setter in promoting IT in AP: CM

HCL to emerge as trend setter in promoting IT in AP: CM

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: With the intent of making Andhra Pradesh a technology hub in the world, the government is committed to make this a reality.

The Andhra Pradesh’s IT sector added another feather to its cap as the technology giant HCL today signed an MoU with State government for setting up of HCL IT and training centres in Vijayawada and Amaravati. The objective of this MoU is to create a ‘state of the art’ global IT development center, recruit local talent and mainly create an ecosystem to nourish that.

As part of the MoU, HCL will invest Rs 500 crore in 10 years in the project spread over 27.86 acres to be allotted by the government.

Speaking on the occasion Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that Vijayawada is best place for creative people and sought cooperation of HCL to make AP as a knowledge hub. He said the HCL would emerge as a trendsetter in promoting IT in AP.

In line with the government’s efforts for enhancing employment opportunities in the State, the company is commitment to employing 5,000 local residents. The project will be implemented in two phases. In Phase -1 of the project, HCL plans to invest Rs 300 crore providing employment to 3000 people. Likewise in Phase – 2, which is likely to commence in 2022, Rs 200 crore will be invested providing an additional employment for 2000 locals.

Another novel feature of the MoU is that it plans to leverage a gender equal work force. In addition to this, the organization has promised to create flexible working conditions for women; retain talent through career growth and provide higher educational opportunities for them.

In tune to the Chief Minister’s vision to promote walk-to-work environment in Amaravati, the capital city, HCL intends to promote the same, which would help in improving productivity, facilitate work life balance of employees and retain them. 

HCL proposes to develop its first center at Kesarapalle Village in Gannavaram Mandal of Krishna District in a total area of 17.86 acres. The second center will come up in 10 acres in Ainavulu village of Amaravati. 

The project also envisages setting up a campus of the IT and ITES City Project. Besides developing infrastructure, HCL will garner engineering services by setting up of R&D labs, IT Services, Skill Development Centre and establish residential hostels.

Coming to the operational timelines of the project, HCL will begin construction of the Phase -1 center in early May, 2017 and start training programs by July 2017.

The IT giant has promised to operationalize the IT Centre and Skill Development Centre, involving 500 odd professionals, by August 2018.

As the investment in Phase – 1 is more than Rs. 250 Crore, this project qualifies as a mega project under the Information Technology Policy 2014-20.

“I am very happy to facilitate this singing of MoU. We look forward for a wonderful partnership with HCL and we assure to extend all possible support by the government,” said K. Vijayanand,  Secretary IT.

Commenting on the occasion, Shiv Nadar, Founder and Chairman – HCL and Shiv Nadar Foundation said, “HCL has always been at the forefront of bringing new opportunities to the Indian populace. This is an innovative initiative to reach out to the local talent, refine their skills and make them future ready for IT careers.

“I am always charmed by Naidu’s commitment. We wanted to set up something in the interior Andhra as most of our employees in our Chennai office are from AP. Our main idea is to encourage women who are well educated in Southern part. That’s how this idea came up. He said HCL is ready to promote creative work force for global companies. The company has largest R&D wing with 6000 people.

The Chief Minister added that his government will extend all needed support to HCL. He suggested to Shiv Nadar to make Amaravati his second home.

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Jagan needs to do a lot of election strategy exercise

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The results for the three MLC elections representing the local bodies are out. The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had won the three seats. The TDP had already won six MLC seats from the local bodies unanimous and these three would make its count to nine.

The ruling TDP had also won the five MLC seats from the MLAs quota earlier this month. Winning or losing the MLC elections is not going to make any changes either for the ruling TDP or for the Opposition YSR Congress in their political assertion in the State. The victory also does not reflect the public mood as the voters here are the elected representatives of the local bodies, who have already changed their loyalties from the Opposition to the ruling party. Thus ruling party will always have an edge over the Opposition with the defections.

What makes the difference is the election strategy that the Opposition YSR Congress followed in this election. Jagan Mohan Reddy should understand that he is running a political party whose target is winning the elections. Giving up the six MLC seats in the local body quota on the ground that he had no majority is not an excuse for a political party, particularly the party that is the main opposition and aspiring to be in power. The YSR Congress should have contested the six seats that were given in golden plate to the TDP. Not having majority is not an excuse as Jagan Mohan Reddy, as a politician, should not expect everything to be handed over to him on a plate. He has to fight the battle, keep his folks active and vibrant, and above all give them a face to stand before the opponents in the rural areas. A continued defeat of the party would demoralise the cadre at the grassroots where fight is tougher and honest.

Everyone in the State or those watching the State politics from outsider are aware of the fact that Kadapa MLC seat is important for Jagan Mohan Reddy and his YSR Congress. Jagan must have the numbers in Kurnool and Nellore as the YSR Congress claims, but Kadapa is important as it is his fortress. A leader should not lose the battle in his home turf. That defeat is considered a failure and the fighting spirit of the soldiers gets diluted. This is what had happened in the case of YSR Congress getting defeated in Kadapa. It may not alter the ruling factors in the State, but matters a lot for the YSR Congress leaders and cadres, who have to answer the criticism. Jagan Mohan Reddy should have at least stood firm in Kadapa, keeping his folks together intact, not ‘hijacked’ by the ruling party as he claims today.

The continuous defeat or accepting defeat is also not good for a party to fight the elections and stage a comeback. Moreover, a political party is not expected to avoid fighting election battles or withdrawing from the battle field. It might taste defeat in the elections, but what matters is the fighting.

Two more years time is left for the Opposition party to survive and keep its folks together. The defeat like this would not help the party to stay intact and ready for the 2019 elections. Jagan Mohan Reddy would have to learn the strategy, winning strategy, and keep on fighting every election, with a strong mind to win every election.

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Australian to assist AP on Water projects, to set up Water Science University

Amaravati: Under the Australia-AP Economic Cooperation Working Group, Australia and AP have identified water cooperation as a priority agenda item. Representatives from the Australian Consulate-General and the Australian Water Partnership met with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, as part of the Australian water delegation to the State to discuss potential collaboration around the establishment of a Water Centre for Excellence and Water Science University in AP.  The team also proposed to collaborate with existing cities and Amaravati for exploring fruitful opportunities in ‘water sensitive cities’ area.

Subsequently the Australian team visited APCRDA and presented to Commissioner Cherukuri Sridhar and officials of CRDA about collaborating in building Amaravati as a world class ‘water sensitive capital city’.

The proposed AP-Australia Water Sensitive Cities Partnership serves as a strategic first step towards the Water Centre for Excellence.

It presents an opportunity for Australia to share its world-class capabilities in relation to urban water management by partnering with one of India’s most ambitious urban development projects- Amaravati.

By modernising and leapfrogging the linear evolution of water services, the aim of the project is to make Amaravati an exemplar for all of India regarding water sensitivity.

Tony Wong, CEO of the CRCWSC, along with Sean Kelly, Australian Consul-General to South India and his team were present in the delegation. Commissioner APCRDA had thanked the government of Australia, and CRCWSC for coming forward with such innovative and critical area of collaboration for Amaravati. He also expressed that APCRDA would sincerely look forward for materializing this partnership immediately.

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AP Tourism goes global, meets UNWTO chief for investment

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department is going global to attract global investment in the State. A delegation of the AP Tourism had met United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary general Taleb D Rifai at Berlin and briefed him the tourist potential in the State. The officials of the delegation have also presented the prestigious Kondapalli toys to Rifai who was attracted to the craft.

The delegation explained to the UNWTO chief about the tourism potential in the Godavari region on fisheries, the lives of tribals in Araku valley and beach tourism in Visakhapatnam and Yarada areas. They have requested the UNWTO chief to motivate the global tourist firms to invest in these places as they would attract international tourists.

The AP government is planning to promote tourism in a big way using its Buddhist connections, the two rivers of Krishna and Godavari and the long sea coast. The officials of the AP Tourism have been visiting the potential investing countries and inviting them to the State. The present delegation touring Berlin has been holding talks with several tourism companies to move out to Andhra Pradesh.

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Australian education fair in Vijayawada on Feb 27

Vijayawada: A one-day Australian education fair is being organized at Hotel DV Manor on February 27, said Neptune Educational Consultants local head, M Srinivasa Rao. He said that the representatives of leading universities and other educational institutions from Australia would be present at the exhibition and provide consultancy services to the students aspiring to study in Australia.

The representatives of Monash University, University of Adelaide, University of Western Australia, University of South Australia, Deakin University, Rmit University, Macquarie University, Latrobe University, Flinders University, Victoria University, Charles Sturt University, Embassy English and others would provide career guidance to the students.

The students can also learn about the higher education and research opportunities available in various universities, understand the conditions under which internships are granted, learn about research facilities, scholarship and employment opportunities, he added. The university representatives would also guide the Indian students on the Visa opportunities, he further added. He asked the interested students to contact 9703375444 or 9966166659 for further details.

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Lokesh to be MLC first, Minister later in March

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: Telugu Desam Party national general secretary Nara Lokesh is set to be the MLC first in the MLA quota, elections for which are scheduled on March 17. The AP MLAs would elect seven MLCs of which the ruling TDP is confident of wresting six, leaving one to the YSR Congress. There is a tough fight in all likelyhood for the seventh seat with the TDP and the YSR Congress falling short of the number.

The TDP leadership had zeroed in on the candidature of Lokesh for the first seat out of the five it is sure of. After the election and counting of votes, Lokesh, along with others, would begin their stint after March 28, when the sitting MLCs in the MLA quota retire. The TDP MLCs, S V Satish Kumar Reddy, vice-chairman of the council, K Pratibha Bharati, Congress MLCs, C Ramachandraiah, M Sudhakar Babu, P Chengalrayudu and Mohmmad Jani and CPI MLC P J C Sekhar Rao are completing their term on March 28. While the Congress has no chance of contesting this election as it has no MLAs this time, Ramachandraiah and Sudhakar Babu would have to wait for the next opportunity. However, the two other Congress MLCs, Chengalrayudu and Jani who have defected to the ruling TDP recently, are seeking re-election. Even Pratibha Bharati, who had completed just two and a half years term, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Paladugu Venkatarao, is seeking another term. While it is not sure how many of them make it to the Council this time, the TDP had decided on the candidature of Lokesh in the slot, which is comfortable for the young leader.

Meanwhile, the State is also witnessing tough fight for the Council elections in the teachers, graduates, local bodies and the Governor quota. While Governors quota would completely be in the hands of the ruling party to fill the two vacancies, the TDP is having tough time in the teachers and graduates seats, where the Left-sponsored Peoples’ Democratic Front (PDF) is having an edge with all the four sitting MLCs from its team fighting for the second term. The three graduates seats of Srikakulam-Vizianagaram-Visakhapatnam represented by M V S Sarma, Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor represented by Y Srinivasula Reddy and Ananthapur-Kurnool-Kadapa represented by Dr M Geyanand, is witnessing tough fight with the BJP trying to wrest the north coastal districts seat and the TDP equally firm on winning the south coastal and seema districts seats. In the two graduates seats, Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor is held by V Balasubrahmanyam of the PDF, while the Ananthapur-Kadapa-Kurnool is held by Dr B Pullaiah of the CPI-backed teachers union. While the PDF is leaving no stone unturned to retain the Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor seat, the TDP had laid its hands on the Ananthapur-Kadapa-Kurnool seats.

The ruling TDP would be having a cakewalk in the nine MLC seats to be elected from the local body quota. The MLCs, Ch Narayana Reddy from Kadapa, M Govardhana Reddy from Ananthapur, Silpa Chakrapani Reddy from Kurnool, B Naresh Reddy from Chittoor, V Narayana Reddy from Nellore, Angara Ramamohan and Meka Suresh Babu from West Godavari, Reddy Subrahmanyam from East Godavari and P V Prasada Rao from Srikakulam are retiring in the middle of March. Except in Kadapa, where former Minister Y S Vivekananda Reddy is trying his luck on the Opposition YSR Congress ticket, election for the remaining seats in the local body quota would give a cakewalk for the ruling TDP.

Retiring MLCs and elections in AP

Graduates’ Constituencies

Srikakulam-Vizianagaram-Visakhapatnam – M V S Sarma – PDF

Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor –  Y Srinivasula Reddy – PDF

Ananthapur-Kurnool-Kadapa – Dr M Geyanand – PDF

Teachers’ Constituencies

Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor- V Balasubrahmanyam – PDF

Anathapur-Kurnool-Kadapa – Dr Bachala Pullaiah – PRTU

Local Bodies Constituencies 

Kadapa – Ch Narayana Reddy – Independent

Anathapur – Mettu Govinda Reddy – TDP

Chittoor – B Naresh Kumar Reddy – TDP

Kurnool – Silpa Chakrapani Reddy – TDP

Nellore – V Narayana Reddy – Congress

West Godavari – Angara Ramamohan – TDP

West Godavari – Meka Seshu Babu – Independent

East Godavari – Reddy Subrahmanyam – TDT

Srikakulam – P V Prasada Rao – Congress

MLA Constituencies

K Pratibha Bharati      TDP

B Chengalrayudu – Congress (NOW TDP)

C Ramachandraiah – Congress

 M Sudhakar Babu – Congress

S V Satish Kumar Reddy – TDP – VC

P J C Sekhar Rao – CPI

Mohmmad Jani  – Congress – now TDP

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Second NTR Canteen in Amaravati opened

Amaravati: The NTR Canteen that was proposed for the people of the 29 villages who have given their lands in land pooling for the capital is becoming a reality. The first canteen was inaugurated by Chief Minister at Velagapuid on June 25, 2016. The second NTR Canteen was inaugurated at Thulluru, the mandal headquarters on January 10, 2017 by local legislator Tenali Sravan Kumar, along with the APCRDA commissioner Dr Cherukuri Sreedhar. The CRDA has plans to start one more canteen at Yerrabalem.

The first canteen opened at Velagapudi would serve the poorest of the poor of Mandadam, Velagapudi, Malkapuram, Ainavolu, Venkatayapalem, Tallayapalem, Krishnayapalem and Uddandarayunipalem villages. This would also serve the employees of the Secretariat at Velagapudi and the visitors to the new capital.

The second NTR Canteen opened at Thullur would serve the people of Thulluru, Abbarajupalem, Borupalem, Dondapadu, Anantavaram, Nekkallu, Sakhamarru, Nelapadu, Rayapudi and Lingayapalem villages, while the third canteen scheduled to come up at Yerrabalem would serve the people of Undavalli, Penumaka, Nowluru, Betapudi, Neerukonda, Kuragallu, Nidamarru and Yerrubalem villages.

The NTR Canteens are part of the promise of the APCRDA under Schedule 3 (1) (iii) (c) of the Land Pooling Scheme of the government launched for the new capital spread over 29 villages of Thulluru, Mangalagiri and Tadepalli mandals on the banks of river Krishna. The scheme is aimed at providing food for the poorest of the poor who are set to be displaced as the agriculture lands are taken over for the capital construction.

The APCRDA had signed an MoU with Hare Krishna Movement (HKM) that serves 1.50 million meals per day across the country under “Akshaya Patra” scheme. The HKM had already established a modern kitchen at Velagapudi at a cost of Rs 2.50 crore of which the APCRDA had contributed Rs 35 lakh as capital expenditure. The canteen is preparing 28000 meals a day supplying to the children of 172 primary schools in the three capital mandals of Thulluru, Tadepalli and Mangalagiri, besides the employees of the temporary secretariat at Velagapudi, the poorest of the poor of the 8 villages in the area and the visitors to the new capital. The kitchen now would supply food to the people of 10 villages around Thulluru mandal headquarters town.

The NTR Canteen would supply 1 idly at Rs 1, 200 grams of Pongal and Tomato Bath each at Rs 5 for the breakfast. They would also supply 200 grams each of Sambar rice, lemon rice and vegetable rice at Rs 5 each and 150 grams of curd rice at Rs 3.

The HKM would soon establish a central modern kitchen at Mangalagiri to cater to the mid-day meal scheme of more number of schools in the capital area and the neighbouring districts.

Legislator Tenali Sravan Kumar, who inaugurated the canteen said that the scheme would benefit the poorest of the poor who have lost their livelihood with the government taking over the agriculture lands where these people were working as labourers. This was the social concern of the government, he said and expressed confidence that the people would make use of it.

CRDA Commissioner Dr Cherukuri Sreedhar said that the CRDA had fulfilled its promise of opening NTR Canteens and supplying nutritious food for the people. The canteens were also serving the employees of the Secretariat and the visitors to the capital, he added. The food scheme would be extended to other parts of the capital city to ensure that the benefit reaches every person, including the visitors. “The third canteen proposed at Yerrubalem would be opened in the next ten days,” the CRDA Commissioner declared.

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APCC names its MLC candidates for three graduate constituencies

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Congress on Saturday announced the names of three MLC candidates for the ensuing elections. Banking totally on the “Special Category Status” demand for the State, the AP Congress had jumped into the election with an eye on the graduates in north coastal and Rayalaseema districts.  

APCC president N Raghuveera Reddy announced the names of Yadla Adiraju for the Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam graduates constituency followed by Masulu Srinivasulu for Ananthapur, Kadapa and Kurnool and Dr. Yaluri Ramachandra Reddy for Chittoor, Prakasam and Nellore districts graduates constituency. Leaving the local body representatives, the Congress had set its eyes on the graduates constituency with the slogan of fighting for the Special Category Status to the State, a promise that was made on the floor of Lok Sabha at the time of passing of the AP Reorganisation Act 2013.

The AP Congress had been fighting for the special category status right from the bifurcation of the State. The total wipe out of the party in the 2014 elections from Assembly to the gram panchayat did not deter the leadership to continue the fight for the Special Category Status. Its leaders led by Raghuveera Reddy have been fighting for the cause in the State and in Delhi too.

The party had successfully collected 1 crore signatures from the people of all the 13 districts in favour of the Special Category Status. The signatures were sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukharjee, seeking their attention to the promise made by the Central government before Rajya Sabha finally voted for the bill.

The APCC had also prevailed upon the AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi to write to the Prime Minister reminding him of the promise on the Special Category Status. Interestingly, the APCC leadership had also made former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to speak in Parliament recalling his promise on the floor of Rajya Sabha.

Raghuveera Reddy had mobilized support from 11 parties that have representation in the both Houses of Parliament in support of the demand for the Special Category Status when Rajya Sabha took up the private member bill tabled by Congress MP K V P Ramachandra Rao. Rao’s bill had generated expected heat across the State for the cause and that had, to some extent, helped the Congress to breath in the State.

The private member bill and the subsequent fight of the Congress leaders from the State for Special Category Status had helped the Congress reach out to the educated unemployed in the State on which, the party is now banking upon to enter into the Legislative Council.

The going back on the Special Category Status and announcing Special Package by the BJP and TDP is seen as a betrayal by the people, particularly the educated unemployed. In fact, the tall promises of Narendra Modi and Chandrababu Naidu during the 2014 elections in the State on their commitment for the Special Category Status are still afresh in the minds of the people. The pain of the unjust bifurcation was digested by the people of the State only on the promise of Special Category Status, which is expected to bring more investments into the State leading to employment creation. Now, the package is not seen as an alternative to the Status and it is here that the Congress wants to have an edge.

Though Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had compromised on the package in place of Status, the people across the State are not buying his lies on the benefits that the package would bring. Because it was Chandrababu Naidu and Venkaiah Naidu who have explained in detail to the people about the benefits of the Special Category Status during their electioneering in 2014 and any word in substitute to the Status is seen as a betrayal. Sensing the mood of the people, the Congress had jumped into the election race to take an advantage.

Well, victory in these three graduates constituencies is not going to be the main objective of the Congress. But what matters is that the Congress with the slogan of Special Category Status is all set to make the ruling combine to run for life.

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Amaravati goes Rs 35cr high for New Year

  • Highest ever spending in recent years
  • AP nets Rs 162 crores from boozers

 Dara Gopi

Vijayawada: The ‘world class’ new capital of Andhra Pradesh Amaravati had witnessed its people spending over Rs 35 crores on one day on liquor. This was the highest ever spending by the people for New Year in the recent past.

Amaravati, spread over parts of Krishna and Guntur, had spent this huge amount on liquor with people celebrating the New Year on Saturday night and Sunday. While Guntur district had received the highest revenue of Rs 17.50 crores for the New Year celebrations, the Krishna district received Rs 17.47 crores from the boozers. The YSR Kadapa district stood at the lowest in the State with Rs 6.67-crore spending.

While the State had witnessed whopping revenue of Rs 151.40 crores for the 2015 New Year, this year, the revenue went up to Rs 162.52 crores, recording an increase of Rs 11.12 crores.

The State had experienced record sale of liquor on the first day of the New Year receiving Rs 80.79 crores, while it had seen the liquor sales netting Rs 81.79 crores on the last day of 2016. This is over 8 times more than the normal revenue that the State gets from the liquor sales every day. The average daily sale of liquor is around Rs 10 crores on ordinary days, leaving weekend and festivals. On the weekend and festivals, the revenue is around Rs 30 crores to Rs 40 crores a day in the State.

After the capital districts, East Godavari district topped netting revenue of Rs 16.11 crores followed by Visakhapatnam and Nellore districts with Rs 15.39 crores and Rs 15.23 crores. West Godavari and Chittoor districts stood in the third place with revenue of Rs 13.52 crores and Rs 13.07 crores for the New Year. The Kurnool district received revenue of Rs 10.62 crores closely followed by the backward districts of Vizianagaram with Rs 9.99 crores, Prakasam with Rs 9.93 crores and Srikakulam with Rs 9.78 crores.

Ananthapur district which had suffered due to severe drought this year for the kharif season, despite the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu camping there with rain guns to save the standing crops, had seen the liquor sale for the New Year at Rs 7.24 crores.

The demonetization had no effect on the liquor sales as a majority of wine shops and bars have gone digital. The liquor is easily available on digital transactions making it easy for the boozers to have their drink. This had helped in the whopping sale of liquor on just one day, the New Year day.

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AP declares Mori as its ‘first digital village’

Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh has finally hit the national headlines by making a small village in East Godavari district becoming the total digital village. The 1180 households in this village have gone digital with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu launching the programme on Thursday.

The Chief Minister had launched the fiber grid services in the village as people will go digital for all their transactions including the daily household purchases and drawing monthly pensions. The government could make it a reality turning the entire village into digital-friendly with the help of some NRIs from this village settled in other countries. The women in the village who are members of the Self-Help Groups are now handling their group transactions digitally. The village thus had gone cashless with people making online transactions.

The village is already made open defecation free and equipped with the LED bulbs thus saving energy. Every house in the village has toilets and the open defecation is prohibited. The NRIs and the government have provided 263 toilets for the people to use to avoid open defecation and the government had declared it the 100 per cent ODF village.

Every house in the village has the fiber grid connectivity that would enable them to use internet, watch television and use the telephone provided with the 15 mbbs speed.

The class rooms in the village school have turned digital with the Chief Minister launching them on Thursday.

The Chief Minister had congratulated the villagers for their initiative to make it a smart village and go digital. He also congratulated the NRIs from the village for their partnership in developing the village with digital connectivity. He had asked the people of other villages to draw inspiration from the village and go digital.

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AP CM clears three food parks at Rs 634 crore

Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday cleared the proposals for three mega food projects in the State. The three projects would come up with an investment of Rs 634 crore and provide direct or indirect employment to over 5500 people.

The three projects would come in Prakasam, Nellore and Vizianagaram districts. The food park in Prakasam district would come up at an investment of Rs 265 crore, while the food park in Nellore district is planned with an investment of Rs 224 crore. The integrated food park in Vizianagaram would come up at an investment of Rs 125 crore.

The Chief Minister held deliberations with the representatives of the three companies on Thursday at his Undavalli river view residence and cleared the projects. He had also directed the representatives to start the works without any delay and see that the projects are ready as per the schedule. He had also handed over the clearance certificates to the representatives of the companies.

The Chief Minister had also directed the officials to work in coordination with the three companies for their early establishment and see that the local people are benefited with the direct and indirect employment.

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Project oustees on warpath in Andhra Pradesh

  • Protests for fair deal in Polavaram, Gandikota

 From Our Correspondent

Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh is now witnessing strong protests by the oustees of the two major projects in the State – Polavaram on river Godavari and Gandikota on river Pennar.

The two projects, though much required for the irrigation requirements in the State, are set to displace several hundreds of families in East Godavari for Polavaram and Kadapa for Gandikota.

The victims, who are to be removed from the villages and rehabilitated in safer places, are raising their voices firmly seeking better package, nothing less than the compensation promised in the Land Acquisition Act 2013 (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013).

Polavaram project, which is now made part of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014, is taken up on priority by the State. The Central government through NABARD had provided Rs 1981 crores as loan to the State government to begin the construction of the Polavaram project. The State government is gearing up to begin the works. The project is set to submerge over 400 villages of seven mandals around Bhadrachalam, now merged with the East Godavari district.

Over 400 villages are identified to be submerged and the government had promised to rehabilitate them with due compensation for their houses and lands. However, it had provided compensation and rehabilitation to just 14 villages till now. With the money on hand, the State government is planning to begin the construction activity at the site, which is now ready with the preparatory work done in the last two and a half years.

On Wednesday, thousands of the oustees, including students whose academic career is at stake, held road blockade at Polavaram and Chintoor areas raising slogans against the government. The residents who are ready to be shifted for the project have been asking for a fair compensation and better rehabilitation. However, the government is silent on this and is accused of using force to silence the displaced families on the rehabilitation issue.

Same is the case with the displaced families of Gandikota project in Kadapa district. The residents of several villages under the project have been fighting against the government’s failure to provide rehabilitation and compensation. The displaced families are blaming the government for filling the reservoir with water without rehabilitating them. The families from Chowtapalle, which is set to be submerged in the project water, have been holding protests for the past two days. The water being stored in the reservoir has already entered the village as the gravel bund built by the people themselves breached.

Senior bureaucrat and former IAS officer, EAS Sarma, had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court against the State government on Gandikota project for its failures to provide rehabilitation to the displaced people. The activists of the human rights associations and environmentalists too have been raising their voices for the oustees in vain as the government is turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the pleas of those being displaced.

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CRDA to hold talks with land owners for roads

  • CRDA proposes compensation for houses, house sites
  • Artisan, small vendors to get Rs 25,000 to resume their activities
  • Rs 50,000 to be paid to house owners for shifting their belongings to new colony
  • CRDA to pay two times of the construction value on every house taken for roads
  • Agriculture labourers to get Rs 2,500 a month for next 10 years

(From Our Correspondent)

Vijayawada: The AP CRDA would hold consultations with the land owners that is required for provision of basic infrastructure like roads in the new capital city, said CRDA commissioner Cherukuri Sreedhar.

Sreedhar, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the 7th meeting of the CRDA held on December 7 had already decided on holding consultations with the owners of the house sites and vacant lands that are required for formation of roads in the capital. The CRDA had already taken up roads formation in the R1 zone that provides better road network connectivity in the capital, he said and added that the proposed roads would pass through some houses, vacant lands in the existing villages.

The CRDA had proposed consultation policy that would be followed in convincing the land owners, he said and added that the policy was sent to the government for its approval.

Sreedhar said that the CRDA would provide alternative house sites to the equal extent if the house sites are to be taken for the roads. The CRDA would also make an assessment of the house value and pay two times of its value as compensation besides giving equal extent of house site in the rehabilitation colony, he added. With regard to the vacant non-agriculture lands, the CRDA would give equal extent of the land to the owners.

Referring to the Island lands and the houses on these lands, the CRDA would provide a maximum of 500 square yards of site in the rehabilitation colony, while the houses would get two times of the construction value.

The CRDA would also pay Rs 50,000 to the house owners to shift to the new house if their houses are taken for the roads. In the case of cattle shelters and small vendors, the CRDA would pay Rs 25,000 for their reconstruction in the rehabilitation colony, Sreedhar added.

After consultation, if the daily wage labourers and small vendors are losing their livelihood, the CRDA would pay Rs 2500 per month for next 10 years. However, this would be extended to those who have not been paid the same compensation in the land pooling system for the capital, he asserted. In addition to this, the small vendors and the artisan would be paid Rs 25,000 as grant to restart their activity in the rehabilitation colony, he added.

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Jagan needs to shift political base to Vijayawada to strengthen his party

Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Opposition leader and YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy has to shift to Vijayawada from Hyderabad in order to lead the party from the front. Jagan has been addressing well- attended meetings in different towns at regular intervals and going back to Hyderabad in a hit and run fashion.

The popularity graph of AP Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu has been steadily dwindling but the graph of the Opposition leader has not been rising proportionally, according to observers. The YCP leaders and cadres become active only when the party chief comes. They are not involved in street fights with TDP leaders. YCP leaders with considerable stature maintain cordial relations with their local opponents. They criticise only the chief minister and his son Lokesh.

Even in Vijayawada, the main turf for political battles, the YCP is represented by non-serious players.  Gautham Reddy who lost in the last Assembly elections to Bonda Umamaheswara Rao with a wide margin cannot effectively represent the party. People have high expectations from the party.  Vangaveeti Radhakrishna could have taken up the challenge and become a powerful spokesman of the party.  But he is yet to take politics seriously. He is cozy with some TDP leaders and does not react on issues. Radha became active only after famous film director Ram Gopal Varma poked him with a film on his father Vangaveeti Ranga.  Vasireddy Padma, a good communicator and official spokesperson of YCP, is not based out of Vijayawada. She shuttles between Hyderabad and Vijayawada. 

It is high time that Jagan and his main team of leaders started to stay here and be available to the party cadres and the common people who wish to represent their grievances to the Opposition leaders.

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Christmas Celebrated with Gaiety in Two Telugu States

Hyderabad: Christians in the two Telugu States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh celebrated Christmas with religious fervour and gaiety, by organizing congregations and special prayers in churches since the early hours of the day. The festivities started with midnight mass at many churches in the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad, which have a sizeable population of Christians.

Major congregations and special prayers were conducted at many Churches, where large number of devotees attended.  Hundreds of Christians participated in the prayers at St John’s Church in Secunderabad, St Mary’s Church, All Saint’s Church, Wesley Church, Holy Trinity Church and Millennium Methodist Church. Priests prayed for world peace and highlighted the message of Jesus’ birth.  Many of the churches were decorated and illuminated. Christian families cut the cake as part of the celebrations and exchanged greetings. 

Christmas festival was celebrated on a grand scale at NTR Trust Bhavan here.  The three-day celebrations also started at the historic Church of South India (CSI) at Medak, about 100 km from here. The celebrations were also held in Khammam, Adilabad and other towns in Telangana.

In Andhra Pradesh, the celebrations were held in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Ongole, Kadapa, Bheemavaram, Puttaparthi and other towns.

YSR Congress Party president and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, accompanied by his family members participated in the Christmas celebrations at CSI Church in Pulivendula in Kadapa district. -NSS

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ఇంధన ఆదాలో ఏపీకి ప్రపంచ బ్యాంకు కితాబు

న్యూఢిల్లీ:  ఆంధ్రప్రదేశ్ రాష్ట్రం ఇంధన సామర్థ్యం పెంపు, ఆదా లక్ష్యాల సాధనలో చూపించిన ఫలితాలకు ప్రపంచ బ్యాంకు నుంచి ప్రశంసలు లభించాయి. గడచిన రెండు సంవత్సరాల కాలంలో రాష్ట్రంలో ఇంధన వినియోగంలో, ఇంధనం పొదుపు రంగాలలో ఉత్తమ ఫలితాలు సాధించినందుకు మనదేశంలోని మిగిలిన రాష్ట్రాలతో పోల్చి ప్రథమ ర్యాంకు కేటాయించింది. ఈ రెండేళ్లలో 1500 మిలియన్ యూనిట్ల విద్యుత్ ను ఆదా చేయగలిగింది. దుర్వినియోగానికి ఆస్కారం ఉన్న 650 మెగావాట్ల విద్యుత్ ను సక్రమంగా ఉపయోగించుకోగలిగింది.  ముఖ్యమంత్రి ఎన్. చంద్రబాబు నాయుడు దార్శనికత, అనుసరించిన విధానాల ఫలితంగా రాష్ట్రానికి 42.01 పాయింట్లతో ప్రథమ ర్యాంకును ప్రకటించింది. రాజస్తాన్ 41.89 పాయింట్లతో రెండో స్థానం, 39.34 పాయింట్లతో కర్నాటక మూడో స్థానం దక్కించుకున్నాయి.

వివిధ రాష్ట్రాల ర్యాంకులను వెల్లడిస్తూ, చంద్రబాబు దూరదృష్టి కారణంగా భవిష్యత్ తరాలకు ఇంథన వనరుల ఆదా మార్గాలను అందించారని ప్రపంచ బ్యాంక్ ఎక్జిక్యూటివ్ డైరెక్టర్ సుభాశ్ చంద్ర గార్గ్ అభినందించారు.

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AP ranks No 1 in energy conservation

New Delhi /Hyderabad: The World Bank has ranked Andhra Pradesh No 1 in the area of “Energy Efficiency Implementation Readiness.” The global recognition is seen as a boon to the state to fast-track the energy efficiency programmes.

The World Bank felt that the political will, visionary leadership and result-oriented approach of the state administration headed by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu helped AP in achieving the first rank.

With an overall score of 42.01 followed by Rajasthan (41.89), Karnataka (39.34), Maharashtra (39.29), the World Bank was impressed with the effective implementation of energy efficiency and energy conservation activities in AP. By adopting emerging LED technology in domestic and urban street lighting, Andhra Pradesh was assessed to have achieved about 1500 MU of annual energy savings within a span of two years.

The AP Chief Minister has become a champion in energy efficiency, which will go a long way in protecting the interest of future generations and the way shown by the AP  was worth following by other states, said Subash Chandra Garg, Executive Director, World Bank,  while releasing the report during  the ongoing  international conference on energy efficiency in New Delhi. The two-day meet, opened on Friday, was    organized by  the World Bank and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)-India

-NSS

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Talks on creation of Medtech global ecosystem

  • AP and Swiss company discuss plan

VijayawadaThe Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) CEO met key players of Swiss-based MTIP (Med Tech Innovation Partners) on Thursday and discussed the possibilities of creating a global ecosystem for Medtech innovations in Andhra Pradesh.

MTIP is a Swiss-based venture investor specialized in the healthcare sector and focuses on medical devices and diagnostics as well as digital health and healthcare services. The MTIP has been instrumental in building the renowned Swiss Innovation Park, an independent catalyst for innovation in biotech and biomedical engineering, sciences and technologies.

J Krishna Kishore, Chief Executive Officer, APEDB, visited the innovation clusters in Switzerland and interacted with key players of MTIP and apprised them of the high impact development activities that the Andhra Pradesh was undertaking under the leadership of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Kishore also called on Smitha Purushottam, Indian Ambassador to Switzerland and sought her support for various Swiss development projects planned in Andhra Pradesh.

Kishore said, “Andhra Pradesh is delighted to have MTIP set up an ecosystem for medical technology innovations. This would be a game changer for Andhra Pradesh and is in tune with the Chief Minister’s vision of making Andhra Pradesh a knowledge, technology and innovation hub of India”. The proposed ecosystem for MedTech Innovations in Visakhapatnam is expected to create some 75,000 to 95,000 jobs over the next 10 years and create a steady revenue source for Andhra Pradesh and India.

-NSS

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Maoist bandh on Nov 3; AP & TS on high alert

Hyderabad: The two Telugu States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have gone on high alert following a bandh call given Maoists to protest against the killing of 34 Ultras on the Andhra-Odisha border on October 24. The Maoists also called for bandh on November 3 in three other states of Odisha, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

The Telangana and AP police forces have taken unprecedented security measures in both states. The police seemed to have gathered enough evidence about the Maoists’ plans to target important leaders in both states. It is also claimed that the police managed to lay their hands on a hit list containing the names of important leaders like AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

In view of the volatile situation following the killings of Maoists in AOB and gunning down of SIMI activists in Bhopal, both the state and central intelligence authorities have chalked out a comprehensive security plan on the bandh day, Thursday.

The security agencies have issued strict advisory to the Telugu CMs as well as all ministers and legislators not to venture out to remote places. In fact, in view of this advisory, KCR who planned to stay in his farm house had to rush back to the state capital within an hour on Tuesday.

The Telangana police have initiated extra security measures in the Naxalite infected places like Adilabad, Asifabad, Mancherial, Jagtiyal, Peddapally, Karimnagar, Kothagudem and Khammam. Apart from increasing patrolling in the areas, the police have also erected check posts at important junctions and points and stepped up search operations of all vehicles.

Incidentally, on the bandh day (Thursday), the High Court is to hear the AP government and police arguments in the case surrounding the mysterious disappearance of top Naxalite leader Ramakrishna alias RK who was said to have been present at the encounter site. 

Civil liberties organizations have claimed that police had captured RK and he was under their custody. Expressing fears that RK might be eliminated by the police, the rights organizations and RK’s wife Sirisha moved the High Court last week pleading that he be produced before the court. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Maoists have launched their own combing operations in the forest area of AOB to trace their missing leader RK.

–NSS

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