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AP govt maintains ‘secrecy’ over Gangavaram stake sale to Adani!

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The Andhra Pradesh cabinet headed by Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy met on Tuesday (yesterday) and took various key decisions.

All those decisions were disclosed to media on Tuesday except AP government’s stake sale to Adani and make Adani Group a total owner of Gangavaram port with no stake of AP government.

Why cabinet maintained ‘secrecy’ on this issue has become a hot debate in political circles.

The AP government is left with just 10% stake in Gangavaram port and the Adani Group had already acquired 90% stake so far.

It came to light on Wednesday (today) that the cabinet approved to sell off leftover 10% stake to Adani for Rs 645 crore at the rate of Rs 120 per share.

The Jagan government is already facing severe criticism of handing over AP government’s companies to Gujarat-based companies.

The Jagan government handed over AP Dairy to Amul Group and now Gangavaram port to Adani Group.

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Andhra Pradesh selects journalist, lawyer as Information Commissioners

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The Andhra Pradesh government has chosen senior journalist Ulchala Hari Prasad, and lawyer Kakarla Chenna Reddy as the Right to Information Commissioners. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday, and sent for approval to the Governor.

According to a media release issued by the state government, Ulchala Hari Prasad has been working as a journalist for the last two decades, while Kakarla Chenna Reddy has been practising as a lawyer in several district courts and High Courts in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for the past 15 years.

Members of the Information Commissioners selection committee Mekathoti Sucharitha, chief secretary Adityanath Das, CCLA Neerab Kumar Prasad, special chief secretary Praveen Kumar, and Principal Secretary (GAD) Praveen Prakash were present at the meeting.

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Jagan government targets another TDP leader’s business

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There have been allegations that, ever since Jagan came to power, he has been focusing more on political vendetta than the real adminstration of the state and welfare of the people. Already TDP leaders like Atchannayudu, Palla Srinivas, Dhulipalla and many others have been targeted by the government and some of them were even sent to jail. The latest leader to be targeted by Jagan government is TDP leader Galla Jayadev. Details as below.

Jagan led state government has given a big shock to Telugu Desam Party MP Galla Jayadev’s family-owned Amaraja Batteries Company. The government ordered the closure of the company’s plants in Chittoor district for violating pollution control regulations. The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) recently issued directions to this effect. However, the management of Amara Raja Batteries said that they would review the orders and take necessary legal action . As a responsible organization over the years we have taken many measures to protect the environment in our units, and also made significant investments in pollution control, they added . Amara Raja Batteries has multiple manufacturing units in Chittoor district.

We need to wait and see whether political vendetta actions of Jagan’s government yield him the desired results or not.

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Review decision on SSC, Inter exams: AP High Court asks state govt!

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The AP High Court on Friday (today) asked the state government to review its decision on holding SSC and Intermediate public exams in May and June in the wake of increasing corona cases in the state.

The High Court heard the petitions seeking cancellation or postponement of exams.

The court observed that holding these exams involves 30 lakh students, parents, teachers and taking this into consideration the government should review its decision on holding exams.

The court posted the hearing for May 3. The court directed the state government to tell its opinion to the court on holding exams on May 3. The court ordered the state government to file a counter with all details on May 2.

The court questioned the state government how students who were infected with Covid-19 will appear for exams. It said as per norms such students should be under quarantine.

The government advocate argued that they will hold separate exams for such students. However, the court expressed doubt over such possibility.

The court also observed that whether Covid infected students will be mentally prepared to write exams.

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HC orders AP Govt to hold daily reviews on Covid

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The High Court of Andhra Pradesh has instructed the AP Government to hold daily review meetings on the Coronavirus situation in the State. This is very important considering the large scale complaints about the lack of hospital beds and the exorbitant costs of tests and medicines. The court asked for forming special flying squads on the part of the Government to enforce compliance of the Covid guidelines at the hospitals.

The HC orders came after hearings completed on the public interest litigation petitions filed by several civil society organisations and activists. The court said that the flying squads should check whether the hospitals were providing proper services at reasonable rates.

The court took serious note of the AP situation following reports that the State became the worst hit in the entire country in the deadly second wave of Coronavirus.

The court made specific instructions to the Government to review availability of remdesivir and other emergency medicines at proper rates. The hospitals should be made to display on the boards on the in-patients and vacancies of beds. The Government should review the availability of oxygen on a daily basis considering the serious threat being posed because of its scarcity and exploitation.

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AP govt goes back on Covid vaccination for 18-plus from May 1

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The Centre had recently announced corona vaccination drive for people aged above 18 years from May 1 across the country.

However, the Andhra Pradesh government had expressed its inability to conduct vaccination drive for 18-plus in state from May 1.

AP health secretary Anil Kumar Singhal on Tuesday (today) said that the vaccination for 18-plus in AP is likely to begin only from June.

He said the registration of people for vaccination drive through Covin App will take time and it is not possible to start vaccination drive from May 1.

He also said that there is clarity on vaccine stocks to be supplied by companies to Andhra Pradesh so far.

Singhal said the government consulted companies for vaccines but no MoU was entered with any company on procuring vaccine stocks far and all these factors will delay the launch of vaccination drive in AP.

He said the government had placed orders for 4 lakh Remdesivir injections to avoid shortage in AP.

He added that AP government will supply Remdesivir injections to private hospitals.

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Andhra HC pulls up govt over multiple issues on Covid

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday was critical of the state government over multiple issues pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic.

The court expressed its dismay at the government failing to furnish information on what measures it took to control the pandemic, asking why it failed to file a counter affidavit to the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Thota Suresh Babu last September.

Similarly, the court demanded the state furnish information on the coronavirus second wave, number of cases, tests, results, availability of beds, medicines and other aspects.

It also asked the government as to what actions it took against private hospitals which violated the orders.

Lawyer Narra Srinivas, representing a petitioner, informed the court that the illegal diversion of Remdesivir injection into black market is causing major hiccups to patients.

Meanwhile, the court said that if the government does not file a counter-affidavit by Tuesday, it will take action against the government.

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AP govt relieves Telangana employees working in AP Secretariat!

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The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday (today) relieved Telangana employees working in AP Secretariat in Amaravathi.

The AP government issued orders relieving 49 employees to enable them to shift to their native state Telangana.

Telangana employees working in AP Secretariat were demanding for long to allow inter-state transfer since the bifurcation of AP in June 2014.

However, it could not materialise as the relations between Telangana and AP government were not good when TDP was ruling AP between from 2014 to 2019.

The political rivalry between then AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana CM KCR has become an obstacle to make inter-state transfers.

However, after Jagan became CM, the relations between Telangana and AP government improved due to the closeness between Jagan and KCR.

In this backdrop, Telangana government recently made a request to AP government to relieve Telangana employee working in AP Secretariat.

The Jagan government accepted it and issued a GO to this effect on Thursday.

Telangana employees thanked Jagan for obliging their long-pending demand.

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AP Government wins over Vakeel Saab in tickets hike issue

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The High Court division bench revised the order of the single bench’s decision of allowing the hiked ticket prices for Pawan Kalyan’s recent offering Vakeel Saab. The single bench reversed the order of AP government and granted ticket hike for the film in the state till Sunday and scheduled the next hearing for Monday. The AP Government approached the division bench which rejected the hike in the ticket prices considering the current situation of coronavirus. All the exhibitors will have to follow the strict rules for the ticket prices from Monday as per the GO issued by the government of Andhra Pradesh. It is unclear as of now if the GO will be applicable for all the future projects.

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Census process to delay Jagan’s new districts

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Unforeseen hurdles are being created in the YCP Government plans to create new districts in Andhra Pradesh. The coming 2021 Census exercise is now expected to interfere with the new districts formation in the State. This is because the Central Government has issued orders to the States not to make any changes in the revenue units geographical boundaries till the Census is completed.

As per the AP Government plans, the boundaries of some mandals and revenue divisions are to be changed. It has been a long standing plan of Mr. Jagan Reddy to form the existing 13 districts into 25 districts. Each parliamentary constituency is being turned into one district.

In addition to this, the YCP regime has proposed one or two more districts. The Chief Minister has earlier ordered the officials to complete the new districts at the earliest.

Meanwhile, even the Census exercise is being delayed at the national level. It is mainly because of the Coronavirus second wave. Some States like Maharashtra are the worst affected where there is no scope for taking up the Census in the near future. Similarly, AP is also facing several problems to complete the Census and the formation of new districts.

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Andhra to release jobs calendar on Ugadi festival

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Andhra Pradesh government will release a calendar schedule to fill vacant posts in the education department on Ugadi festival day.

Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh made this announcement on Friday and it comes on the back of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy instructed officials to come out with a calendar recently.

Meanwhile, Suresh said that college fee would be credited to the accounts of eligible mothers under Jagananna Vidya Deevena scheme on April 9, benefiting 10 lakh students.

Similarly, the state government is focusing on improving the educational standards in colleges.

“As per the directions of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, educational standards in colleges in the state will be improved and education will be imparted in such a way that students can get jobs,” said the Education Minister.

In the light of the state government clipping the wings of autonomous colleges, Suresh warned them not to indulge in irregularities and said that appropriate action would be taken otherwise.

According to the minister, there are 109 autonomous colleges in the state under various varsities and it was found that quality education was not being imparted in those educational institutions.

“Some autonomous colleges were indulging in irregularities besides getting subsidies from the government discussions are being held with the UGC regarding autonomous colleges,” he said.

Further clarifying, Suresh noted that education is a concurrent subject upon which the state government can also make laws and highlighted that colleges are free to move the Court in this matter.

He said that academic audits would be conducted in autonomous colleges to usher in reforms in the education sector.

Suresh said that autonomous colleges are barred from compiling their own question papers.

Meanwhile, the state government is looking at initiating an apprentice system for degree courses.

He said, Reddy gave instruction to lay special focus on developing Andhra University, S.V. University, RJKUT, JNTU – Anantapur and JNTU – Kakinada.

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AP govt financial crisis: Loans even to repair roads

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The Andhra Pradesh government headed by Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is facing unprecedented financial crisis, thanks to cash transfer schemes launched by Jagan in the name of ‘navaratnalu’.

The YSRCP government is dependent on loans to run the show on a day-to-day basis.

The situation worsened to such an extent that the YSRCP government has decided to take loans even for repairing roads across the state.

Jagan has constituted AP Road Development Corporation (APRDP) exclusively to take loans for road repair works.

He issued directions to APRDP to take Rs 2,205 crore loans from various banks.

The AP government will provide bank guarantee to these loans.

State highways and roads in all districts in AP were badly damaged due to consecutive cyclones and heavy rains for the past two years.

However, the state government did not take up repairs due to a fund crunch.

With this motorists in AP are facing severe hardships due to bad roads.

They are expressing ire at state government for failing to repair roads for such a long time.

With this, the Jagan government has decided to take loans for road repair works.

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Lokesh blames Govt for farmer couple’s suicide

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TDP MLC Nara Lokesh has held the Jaganmohan Reddy Government totally responsible for the agricultural debt crisis that led to the latest suicide by a farmer couple in Allagadda in the Kurnool district. Farmer Sanjeeva Reddy and his wife ended their lives at P. Chintakunta village after they could not repay Rs. 11 lakh debts which they had faced following losses in agriculture. As a result of their extreme step, their three children have now become orphans to whom the YCP Government owed an explanation.

Lokesh slammed CM Jagan for immersing himself in his party foundation day celebrations while the farmers were facing a life and death situation on account of worsening debts and failure of crops. Jagan Reddy’s worst rule was the reason for the farmers committing suicides after losing hope of any assistance or support. This insensitive Chief Minister should rise from his deep slumber in order to prevent the farmers’ suicides. Instead of making empty claims, the YCP Government should make sincere efforts to give confidence and hope to the cultivators. The CM should immediately come to the rescue of the Sanjeeva Reddy family.

Lokesh said that false cases were being filed against Anaparthy former MLA Ramakrishna Reddy only because he exposed the corruption and illegal activities of the local YCP legislator. Not stopping at that, the YCP leaders forced the police to make illegal arrest of Mr. Ramakrishna Reddy. Under this oppressive regime, the police were targetting the victims while allowing the attackers to continue their harassment against the TDP leaders.

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Andhra to incorporate ‘Gender Budget’ to better serve women

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Andhra Pradesh could be the first state in India to incorporate a concept called ‘Gender Budget’ in its annual Budget for FY 2021-22 aimed at better serving women.

On International Women’s Day on Monday, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy emphasised that the Gender Budget should clearly list out the expenditures for women’s welfare under various schemes.

As per the 2011 Budget, only 60 per cent women in Andhra Pradesh were literate while the balance 40 per cent were unable to pursue education.

In order to resolve this issue and lower the burden of providing quality education, the state government has introduced schemes such as the Jaganna Amm Vodi, which encompassed an expenditure of Rs 13,022 crore in two years’ time.

In five years’ time, this scheme will spend Rs 32,500 crore, benefiting over 44.5 lakh mothers and 85 lakh students.

“Women should be given equal rights economically, socially and politically and their services in bettering the society should be recognised,” said Reddy.

He said the state government has spent Rs 80,000 crore in 21 months for women’s welfare through schemes such as Amma Vodi, YSR Cheyuta, YSR Asara and Kapu Nestam.

“Besides ensuring women’s welfare, the government has also focused on empowering women socially, politically, economically and made laws to provide 50 per cent reservation to women in all nominated posts and works,” said Reddy.

Along with 900 Disha patrolling vehicles, the Chief Minister has also launched 18 Disha crime scene management vehicles.

Meanwhile, Suprava Harichandan, the wife of Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, celebrated International Women’s Day at the Raj Bhavan’s Durbar Hall at an event organised by women the employees.

“It is a very important day for all the women as it is celebrated in recognition of their contribution to the society and the equal role played by women in nation building,” she said, as she distributed gifts to the women employees of the Raj Bhavan.

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Jagan govt’s record: Rs 25 lakh loan per minute!

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The YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh led by Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is breaking all the records in taking loans from banks and other financial institutions.

It’s been 21 months since Jagan became CM of AP. The YSRCP government is running the show depending on loans instead of creating wealth through development programmes. The loans thus mobilised are used to fund Jagan’s Navarathnalu schemes.

AP finance minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy last week announced that YSRCP government took loans worth Rs 73,000 crore in current fiscal 2020-21.

However, as per the data available with the finance department, the loans have already crossed Rs 1 lakh crore.

The loans are expected to touch Rs 1.20 lakh crore by March 31, 2021, when 2020-21 financial year ends.

This amounts to YSRCP government taking loans of Rs 333 crore per day in this fiscal.

This in turn amounts to taking Rs 25 lakh loan per minute

Can any government beat this record in India?

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Andhra govt endorses statewide bandh opposing steel plant sale

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The YSR Congress Party-led Andhra Pradesh government has endorsed a statewide bandh call given by labour union leaders opposing the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) on Friday.

“The Andhra Pradesh government extends solidarity to the statewide bandh called by the workers on Friday opposing the decision to privatise VSP,” state Transport Minister Perni Venkatramaiah said.

The minister said that they will fight to any extent to retain the steel plant as people’s asset, which was procured after the sacrifice of 32 lives.

Recently, the state Cabinet took a decision to move a resolution in the Assembly, opposing the Central government’s plan to privatise VSP and also for putting more ‘pressure’ on the Centre.

In February, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had met the labour union leaders spearheading the fight against the privatisation of VSP and informed them that he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, suggesting the available possibilities to salvage the plant.

Allocation of mines in Odisha, converting bank debt into equity, and selling steel plant’s surplus land were the three major suggestions given by Reddy to the Prime Minister, among others.

The labour unions leaders have already issued posters notifying the bandh.

Likewise, many people, including the employees of VSP and their family members, are protesting against the privatisation plan.

In a unique protest, some youth were found dancing on the road, blaring a Telugu song questioning as to what right the government had to sell the plant, also questioning the entity which will come forward to buy it.

Many protesters have also launched a hunger strike against the decision. Protesters from different departments such as the blast furnace have also launched their demonstrations.

“Private sector companies’ main motive is to earn profits but my company’s (VSP) main motive is to provide service to the public along with profits. Give one chance to RINL with captive mines, we will prove what we are,” said Gopal, one of the protesters.

Another protester alleged that the Central government is waiving the debts of scamsters and also wiping out the public sector as a whole.

Visakhapatnam North MLA and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Ganta Srinivasa Rao recently submitted his resignation to the Assembly Speaker opposing the steel plant sale plan.

All signs are pointing towards a long-term fight against the privatisation plan, adding one more indefinite strike to the two already playing out in the state.

Two indefinite protests are currently underway in Amaravati, one supporting the capital city trifurcation and the other opposing it.

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‘Andhra aims for 10% share in India’s overall exports’

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday said that the state is aiming for a 10 per cent share in the overall India’s exports basket by 2030.

Participating virtually in the Maritime India Summit 2021, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reddy said that currently Andhra Pradesh has an export share of 4 per cent.

Delving on India’s overall trade, the Chief Minister said that 95 per cent of the trade by volume and 70 per cent by value is through maritime transport.

“Indian ports handled approximately 1.2 billion metric tonnes of cargo traffic in the year 2019 – 2020 and much required policy reforms like 100 per cent FDI, Make-in-India, Sagar Mala and Bharat Mala have been introduced to ensure exponential growth in this sector,” he said.

Reddy added that Maritime India Vision 2030 document will stand as a testament to the government’s commitment.

“I believe that the importance of ‘Blue Economy’ in a nation’s growth story extends much beyond the maritime trade and the Export – Import statistics,” he said.

The Chief Minister said that the true value of “Blue Economy” is unlocked only when all the allied sectors dependent on the ocean such as aquaculture, maritime and coastal tourism, chemical and bio-technological exploration, ship building and other port-led industries also mature enough to provide sustainable employment and growth opportunities.

Reddy termed the draft of the first ever National Fishing Policy released in September 2020 as an example of several such steps taken in that direction.

He told Modi that drawing inspiration from him, Andhra has taken a lot of transformative steps to leverage it coastline of 974 km, which is the second largest in India.

“Today, I am proud to say that Andhra Pradesh is on the top spot in the country in Ease of Doing Business rankings 2020 released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry and one of the factors that contributed to this achievement is the state government’s consistent efforts in developing port infrastructure, support ecosystem and encouraging port-led industrialization,” the Chief Minister said.

He added the state has one major port in Visakhapatnam, five functional ports and 10 other notified state ports with world class facilities which can handle more than 170 million tonnes of cargo per annum, second to Gujarat.

According to Reddy, several industrial nodes came up in the state, including the state taking up the development of three greenfield ports at Ramayapatnam, Machilipatnam and Bhavanapadu on an innovative model that mitigates all risks associated with green field port development.

He said these ports are deep-drafted ports all set to be operational by 2023, creating an additional capacity of at least 100 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

“In order to ensure that the ports operate at their fullest capacities, the state government has consciously taken steps to attract large investments in the sectors ranging from manufacturing, petrochemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals which are port-dependent,” he added.

Reddy said the state government has also undertaken the development of eight fishing harbours, establishment of testing labs and cold chain facilities to better provide ecosystem for aquaculture to increase the share of aqua-related cargo from the ports.

“I would also like to extend my invitation to the representatives from various companies from India and abroad attending this summit through the Government of India to invest in AP and I assure you the best environment for your operations and the fullest support in making your endeavor a successful one,” he added.

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Modi surprised at AP ‘move’ on churches?

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Reports were long coming out that the AP Government was bent on calling tenders for constructing churches in the State. Now this issue attracted the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi too. According to YCP rebel MP Raghu Rama Raju, the Prime Minister has specifically asked him to provide more details about the issue of the State Government’s involvement in Andhra Pradesh.

RRR has met the PM and submitted a 25-page memorandum seeking the Centre’s intervention on the issue of the Temple attacks, Amaravati, Polavaram, Visakha Steel Plant, etc. When Raju explained these details, the PM took keen interest about the issue of churches in the State. The MP said that Mr. Modi asked him whether he had given details about the State Government tenders for churches in his 25-page note.

Rajugaru did not provide those details but told the PM that he would submit a detailed note especially on the Government’s involvement in the construction of churches in AP. RRR further said that the PM has also expressed surprise how any Government could get involved in the churches’ construction.

Whatever, Rajugaru has carried out his work meticulously to give a hint to the PM on the issue of churches. Undoubtedly, the Central Government and the BJP have its own network to get details about this. Once the Jagan regime really begins active work on this aspect, then another state and national level controversy will be triggered from AP.

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Nandi, Naga, Ganesha, Lepakshi to feature in AP’s tableau

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Andhra Pradesh government will showcase Nandi, Naga, Ganesha and Lepakshi temple as part of its Republic Day parade tableau in New Delhi.

“Lepakshi is a fine example of architectural grandeur. It belongs to the 16th century temple of stone in Vijayanagara style,” said an official.

The temple was built on a low rocky hill called Kurmasailam, dating back to 1583 and built by brothers Virupanna and Veeranna, courtiers of the Vijayanagara kings.

The tableaux will flaunt the rich monolith rock architecture of Lepakshi, including a spectacular monolith Nandi of 27ft in length and 15ft in height.

“It is a colossal structure, reputedly India’s biggest monolithic Nandi. Besides the record size, the perfectly proportioned body, finely-carved ornaments and smooth contours add to its grandeur,” said the official.

The tableaux will begin with the Nandi and its rear will feature the main arches of Lepakshi temple such as ‘mukha mandapa’, ‘arda mandapa’, ‘antarala’ (ante chamber), ‘garbhagriha’ (sanctum sanctorum) and ‘kalyana mandapa’ with 38 carved pillars.

It will also showcase the temple’s outer enclosure, featuring a mammoth Ganesha hewn out of stone and leaning against a rock.

“Perpendicular to it is a massive Naga with three coils and seven hoods. It forms a sheltering canopy over black granite Shiva lingam,” he said.

Likewise, a traditional music art form called ‘veeranatyam’ which tells the story of Veerabadhra during Daksha Yagyam will be performed on the tableau.

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Andhra govt employees threaten to boycott panchayat polls

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Hours after the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar on Saturday issued a notification for the four-phase panchayat polls, the state government employees associations representatives threatened to boycott the elections because of the pandemic.

The employees representatives said they would see how many employees the SEC terminates.

“Government employees in Andhra Pradesh have risked their lives to control the coronavirus. Instead of appreciating, you are threatening to terminate and suspend us. We oppose this step. If you go ahead with the state panchayat polls, chaos may prevail across the state. So please cancel your election notification,” said an employees representative.

The Andhra SEC on Saturday notified the schedule for four phase rural local body elections whose nomination process would begin in the next two days.

The employee drew attention to the special care Kumar took while addressing the media earlier on Saturday. He had fixed a glass partition on his table and wore a mask to protect himself from the virus.

“Is your life so important without caring for our lives. While addressing the media, you spoke from behind a glass, all the people in the state watched it. Should we discharge election duties and lose our lives,” he asked the Andhra SEC.

He warned the SEC that if he goes ahead not paying heed to the appeal by the employees, then he would face difficulties.

“So do not scare us and cause paranoia. We will see how many employees you will terminate,” he said.

The representative reminded the SEC about what he did more than two years ago when the panchayat polls were supposed to be held then.

“Why didn’t you conduct the elections back then. Why are you trying to kill all of us by conducting the elections amid the pandemic,” he added.

He appealed to Kumar not to risk the lives of employees, adding that they would undertake election duties only after receiving the vaccination jabs.

Another employees representative said that they are scared at the rapid pace at which the SEC is proceeding to conduct the polls amid the pandemic and the gigantic vaccination drive.

“I appreciate the care Kumar took for himself to ward off coronavirus by fixing a glass partition. Will he provide similar protection to employees?” he asked.

Despite taking similar care, he said, many employees succumbed to the virus, including a general medicine professor in a medical college in Visakhapatnam.

Mandating the employees to urgently take up election duty amid the pandemic is a huge discouragement as most of them are waiting to receive the vaccine.

Another representative said that the SEC postponed the polls in March 2020 when there were fewer infections but is eager to conduct them when the vaccination drive is taking place.

“People are not ready to cooperate, officers are not ready to cooperate. Life is more important, take back your decision. It will not be good if the SEC goes ahead obstinately,” he opined.

These elections were originally supposed to be held in 2018 when the tenure of the local bodies expired back, but Kumar chose not to hold them.

However, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy thought of going to the polls in March 2020 but Kumar did not give the nod citing the coronavirus pandemic which led to a major standoff between the two.

THe Chief Minister accused Kumar of acting at the behest of opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu, during whose tenure as the Chief Minister he was appointed. Reddy had tried to replace him which backfired as the SEC has constitutional protection equal to a Supreme Court judge.

With just two more months to go as the SEC, Kumar is keen on conducting the polls which the state government has opposed citing the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccination drive.

The Supreme Court might take a decision on Monday on the state government’s petition to postpone the elections.

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