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Special Status is not a cure-all pill : Naidu

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Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu for the first time made his mind clear on the special status.Confirming maverick JC Diwakar Reddy’s oft repeated assertion that special category status would not be bestowed on AP and chief minister Naidu’s knows this pretty well that the demand is a pie in the sky, Naidu said, though cautiously, that special category status was not a “cure-all” pill.

As we reported in these columns, Andhra Pradesh, whatever may be its problems, is not eligible for special category status. Mere hardship is not the qualification for getting special category status tag. The state should have natural, geographical, demographic and not easily surmountable problems to be categorized as special category state. So, instead of harping on special status, state should work for equivalent benefits. For political gains, definitely the issues provide the opposition a hard stick to hit at TDP government.

Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, who has been silent on the subject for long, for the first time, counseled caution and warned that stretching the demand for special category status too far may prove counterproductive.
addressing his first press conference in newly set up camp office in Vijayawada on Wednesday, Naidu said special category status should not be seen as the panacea of all ills and the state need more than this go overcome the problems division had thrown up to hit the highway of development.

Rapping the opposition parties for their attack on TDP-BJP combine, the chief minister said,” Don’t push the demand too far. If centre buckles under and accords the special status at the cost of our other demands for help like economic package to backward areas like Rayalaseema and North-coastal Andhra we will be at loss. I don’t want to forego the other assurances made in the AP reorganization Act, at the altar of special status.”

Naidu reiterated the TDP alliance with BJP would continue.Asking people against becoming cynical on NDA assistance to the state, the chief minister let us keep drawing centre’s attention to the problems and to honor its commitments made to the people of Andhra Pradesh.

He said the state should not be denied bigger benefits in lieu of special category status.
Naidu announced that he would release the fact-sheets on the problems and the need for liberal assistance from the centre etc.

He disclosed that he had spoken to PM, home minister, finance minister and BJP president and posted them with the developments in the state and need to honor the commitment made to the state.

He said the Prime Minister asked him come to Delhi after August 15 to discuss the matter. Stating that this would his ninth meeting with PM Modi, Naidu said every time he met he discussed threadbare the problems of the state like assistance to capital construction, bridging the revenue gap, economic package to Rayalaseema and North-coastal Andhra etc.

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… welcome to Vijayawada

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The State government issued orders to establish camp office of the Chief Secretary at Vijayawada.

It is a sign to  government’s intention that it is hell  bent on making Vijayawada temporary capital as the chief secretary is the head of administration of the state. Government issued orders revealing its mind that the government had decided to quit Hyderabad. This is happening despite the fierce opposition from the employees who are well-settled in Hyderabad.

“Government has decided to work with Vijayawada as State Headquarters, pending final location of the Capital at Amaravati. The Camp Office of the Chief Minister has already been established in Vijayawada. Similarly, it is felt that continued presence of Chief Secretary is needed at Vijayawada for better coordination and decision making process,” the State government stated in its order.

Chief Secretary IYR Krishna Rao’s camp office will come up at Krishna district collector’s camp office in Vijayawada. Krishna district collector to shift his camp office either will shift base to camp Office located in Bandar Road or to any other appropriate accommodation.

“The government felt that continued presence of Chief Secretary is needed at Vijayawada for better coordination and decision making process,” the GO stated.

“As the e-Office system is already in place, it is felt that the files can be disposed off electronically, wherever officers are functioning from. Therefore the government has decided to establish a regular camp office for the Chief Secretary at Vijayawada till the new capital city Amaravati is made functional,” an official said.

The official headquarters of the Krishna district collector is Machilipatnam and there is a camp office for the collector at Bandar Road in Vijayawada.

In mid 90s the residence of sub collector, Vijayawada was converted into the camp office of collector.

Now as a camp office is needed  the Chief Secretary, the camp office of Krishna district collector will become  full-fledged Camp Office of Chief Secretary, the government stated.

Meanwhile, the committee headed by Panchayat Raj Department secretary KS Jawahar Reddy constituted to identify locations in and around the capital region where some departments can be temporarily accommodated has submitted its preliminary report to the government.
Sources said the committee feels that  about 25 lakh sq ft of office space is needed in and around Vijayawada to shift major departments from Hyderabad to the new capital region. As of now only 7 lakh sq ft of office space has been identified.

* The CM  Naidu will make Vijayawada his base for five days in a week.

* Chief Secretary IYR Krishna Rao to stay for four days.

* General Administration Department has been asked to assess the office space and provide accommodation to the departments.

* All future Cabinet meeting will be held in Viajyawada

* The cabinet meeting scheduled on Aug. 17 will also take place in Vijayawada

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No decision on govt shifting to V’wada : CS clarifies

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With rumor of flying high on the shifting of heads of department to Vijayawada causing concern among the employees, AP government chief secretary reassured the employees today that there  no decision on the such migration had been taken.

Yesterday he held a meeting with the representatives of the various associations of government employees to elicit their preparedness to move over to Vijayawada.

In the meeting there was an all-round dissatisfaction among the employees that government had unilaterally decided to shift the heads of the department to Vijayawada. Citing childrens education, status of nativity, lack of accommodation, HRA etc the employees are said to have  informed the chief secretary that it would be difficult for them to move unless these issues are settled. They also gave a representation to the finance minister Yanamala Ramakrihshnudu also.

They also expressed displeasure that the government took the decision on its own and thrusting it on employees.

Hence today’s clarification.

Chief Secretary I.Y.R. Krishna Rao. referring to his meeting with the Employees Unions (05.08.2015) yesterday,  clarifed that  the issue of moving offices to the New Capital City in phases or at One Go had not been decided.

He said, “the time frame and method of shifting will be decided involving them (Employees Unions).”

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

When CM Naidu Lost Cool…

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Of late Naidu is seen a bit squeamish-easily getting upset by  the events he doesn’t like. This happened in Vijyawada Friday. While Naidu reportedly expressed displeasure over some ministers’ performance in the cabinet meeting here here, some self-help group (SHG) women tasted his petulant behavior during a break in the cabinet net meeting.

A delegation of women from various Mahila Samakhyas led by All India Democratic Woman’s Association (AIDWA) called on him to represent the problems being faced by DWCRA women and the new liquor policy of AP government.
The women placed before him two problems. one, non-implementation of loan waiver for self-help groups and problems in the sand auction. Two, social and economic consequences of the new liquor policy.
Upon hearing the two issues, Naidu got irritated. Raised his vice with rage.

“What are you talking,” he disapproved their argument. “You are accusing my government. I know every problem the SHG women face in the state. You don’t teach,” he shouted at them. Unfazed, the women leaders did not relent from explaining the problems. They also replied Naidu in same pitch of voice and this led to an loud argument. People sitting on lawns came and surrounded them with curiosity. Later Naidu left abruptly to the meeting hall which surprised everybody.

” It is unfortunate that the chief minister agreed to give us an audience but failed receive us properly. He shouted on us when we genuinely tried to bring to his notice certain problems of poor women,” M Lakshmi, state general secretary of Progressive Organization of Women told media.

The reason for Naidu’s annoyance could be that AIDWA, an affiliate of CPM had taken up the cause of SHG women. He might not have liked idea of Communists questioning his liquor policy. Because state is targeting huge revenue from liquor sales by making it available even in super bazars and malls. Any idea that is aimed to cutting revenue from liquor would be taken by him as an affront on his government.

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Why is Naidu in a Hurry to Move to Vijayawada ?

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Why is Naidu in so much a hurry to relocate himself to Vijayawada? Today the cabinet meeting is being held in the city, to show his resolve to shift his base. He announced that he would work for three days every week from the camp office here. He appointed P Krishnamohan, registrar of college of architecture ,as OSD in CMCO in Vijayawada.

Earlier, he again appointed a new committee of officials to identify the department and persuade the employees to shift to temporary capital.

The thought of relocating all heads of the department(HoD) is one year old. In 2014 also he
set up a committee of senior officers to identify the departments to be relocated
to new capital region and seek the opinions of employees. Even after a half dozen meetings, the committee could not identify the departments and found that employees were not inclined to shift to temporary capital. Another important aspect is almost all IAS officer were opposed to this temporary shifting of the capital. Why?

Employees’ reasons:
1. Majority employees have constructed house and they are well settled in Hyderabad. If they were to relocate to Vijayawada they need an accommodation. They have to pay rent. This is an extra burden. Shifting families is not possible now because academic year has already begun.
2. Children of all employees will become non-locals in Vijayawada as they belong to Telangana state. This issue has to be settled.
3. Most important aspect is the allocation of house sites in Hyderabad. Erstwhile AP has allocated house sites to NGOs. Telangana is arguing that they are not eligible for house site as they are going back to their state. the matter is in court. If they were to move, TS argument gains strength , it could easily cancel the allocation. Each plot costs Rs 50 to 60 lakhs.
4. The shifting is likely to separate wife and husband if they are working in government and public sector.
Employees want these issues to be addressed first.
“AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, facilitates us to stay in Hyderabad for a period of 10 years. Then, why should we relocate our offices to the new capital by relinquishing our right here?” asked AP Revenue Services Association president Bopparaju Venkateswarlu .

IAS officers’ reasons

1. They do not express their view in public like NGO leaders. IAS officer also lose a 500 sq yard house site in Hyderabad if there were to choose to work from temporary capital. Who will forego such a huge and expensive land in Hyderabad.
2. Vijayawada does not have a social life comparable to Hyderabad- recreation, hotels, restaurants, malls, theaters, international airport, quality private schools.
3. There are many legal issues involved. Everyday hundreds of officers(IAS and NGO) need to attend courts. Coming from Vijayawada for court cases puts heavy burden on government.
“If we go to the new capital region, our children will be treated as non-locals there. That means, they will be ineligible for government jobs there. So, the zonal system set up as per Article 371(D) should first be scrapped,” a senior IAS officer said.

So, why is it that Naidu wants to relocate his office over night after remaining silent for over 7 months?

The talk is that Telangana government was annoyed by the constant refrain from AP ministers that they would not vacate Hyderabad even a day before the expiry of 10 year time given in AP Reorganization Act. The T-government is worried that if AP capital construction is delayed, there is a possibility of Andhras demanding extension of deadline. Their presence would jeopardize the complete ownership rights of TS over Hyderabad.

So, if sources are to believed, as part of the common understanding between TS and AP brokered by centre, the Telangana would not drag Naidu into cash-for -vote scam and Naidu would reciprocate it by shifting his base from Hyderabad to Vijayawada.

Many senior officers wonder as to how the CM would operate from Vijayawada when the secretariat and departments remain back in Hyderabad. Shifting departments necessitate shifting of about 20,000 employees to Vijayawada. Can government find accommodation to these employees?

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

It’s official, AP Govt Phones Tapped on TS Request

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In major embarrassment to Telangana government, three telecom operators informed the Supreme Court that they had tapped certain numbers from Andhra Pradesh in May-June 2015  as per the instruction from TS.

The tapping was done by Airtel, Idea and Reliance companies.

These companies admitted to this before the Apex Court, in a petition filed by Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), the representative body of cellular operators.

Supreme Court, in turn, directed these companies to part with information in a sealed cover within a week and give this to trial court in Vijayawada. The direction is a victory of sorts to Andhra Pradesh, which wants to use  the charge of Telephone tapping by Telangana government to neutralize the T State’s threat to implicate chief minister Chandrababu Naidu in cash-for-vote scam.

This is expected to intensify the war of words between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

In the meantime, union home minister Rajanath Singh reportedly dashed off a letter to the states in conflict asking them to keep the centre posted with the problems arising between them such as telephone tapping.

Rajnath Singh

Because the implementation of the AP Reorganization Act-2014 is the responsibility of union ministry of home affairs (MoHA). The MoHA took the extraordinary step of writing to warring states as the telephone tapping and seeking the information thus tapped involves the issues of national security.

The petitioner, COAI said, “During the period from May 2015 to June 2015, the law enforcement agencies of the state of Telangana directed petitioners (Airtel, Idea and Reliance) to carry out lawful interception of certain phone numbers under Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act. The petitioners, who were bound under law, accordingly complied with the said orders. But they do not have access to the content of the said lawful interception. However, the said lawful interception has resulted in political storm in both the states.”

A probe by Andhra Pradesh  into cash-for-vote scam in which T-TDP MLA Revanth Reddy was caught red-handed while giving money to nominated MLA Stephenson in connection with MLC elections, revealed that certain phones of Andhra Pradesh government functionaries had been tapped. State then set up special investigative team (SIT) to investigate into the telephone tapping by TS which found that certain phones had been tapped.

Then, AP took legal recourse to get the call data from the Telecom operators. The Telangana government, however, had warned that disclosure of call data would be considered a violation of Official Secrets Act, 1923 and Indian Telegraph Act, 1995, by the operators. Telangana argues that telecom service providers are not supposed to entertain requests by anybody to furnish data, which is confidential in nature, and pertaining to lawful interceptions of telephone communication undertaken by law enforcement agencies falling within the jurisdiction of Telangana to police officers and individuals of other state who have no jurisdiction over the territory of Telangana state.

Informing the Apex court how they had been pressurized, with a request form AP for data, and a warning from Telangana against the three service provides sought the advice of the Union home ministry and Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The DoT on the other hand on June 30, 2015 the DoT said, “the matter has been referred to the Government of India for legal examination as it related to lawful interception and monitoring that has bearing on national security.“

But with a court in Vijayawada directing the three companies to part with the information in a sealed cover by July 24, they moved the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The Supreme Court upon hearing the prayer of the three service providers directed them to furnish information sought by AP  to the magistrate concerned  in a sealed cover and directed the trial court to preserve it for a month so that petitioners could move Hyderabad High Court.

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Ashok Gajapati Raju Miffed, Ready to Quit

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Ashok Gajapati Raju, arguably one of the honest politicians in the country, is miffed. Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajaparati told in no uncertain terms that if TDP boss was unhappy and thinks he was not able to get funds to state from center though he is a minister in Modi’s cabinet, he would have no qualms to quit.

This happened in the customary parliamentary party meeting of Telugu Desam which party president N Chandrababu Naidi holds on the eve of the every parliament session.This time the meeting was held in Vijayawada.

This meeting was meant to discuss the issues pending before the centre for long time.  The issue of non-implementation of assurances given to the state at the time bifurcation of the Andhra Pradesh figured prominently and many MPs expressed their displeasure at centre’s casual approach towards these promises.

The debate also turned to the delay in the expansion of Gannavaram airport near Viayawada and getting funds released for proposed airports in the  district headquarters which the state earmarked for the development of airports. The issue had been raised by Raju’s junior colleage Sujana Chowdary and, minister of state for science and technology as well as some MPs. Raju clarified to the meeting that the delay was caused by the delay in the land acquisition by the state government.

TDP president and N Chandrababu Naidu felt that the process of expansion of airports in the State was being delayed because of  non-payment of compensation to the local people .  Naidu reportedly asked civil aviation minister Raju to prevail upon the Centre to release required funds for the same.

Raju, without mincing the words, told Naidu that he could not pressurize the Centre beyond a limit for funds for land acquisition because such a promise was not included in the AP Reorganization Act.

Pointing at the inordinate delay in releasing the funds promised by the Centre, Naidu reportedly told union minister, slightly resentfully, that, “Being a cabinet Minister it is incumbent upon you to take initiative and pressurize the centre to get more funds. Lest, people will misunderstand us.”

Raju told the TDP president that, “Sir, I am putting all energies at my command. At the centre, every file goes to the prime minister. Prime Minister’s Office raises too many queries and we are replying. This process is causing delay. If the party feels that I am not putting enough pressure, I am ready to quit without any ill will”.

Media reports said later the union minister  was conspicuous by his absence at a couple of meetings in which chief minister Naidu participated.

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Naidu plans mini cabinet for farm sector

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To address the issues confronting the farm sector on priority basis government of Andhra Pradesh will set up a mini ,Cabinet, soon. Chief Minister N Chandrababu made this announcement today at a conference on Primary Sector Mission in Vijayawada. All departments related to the agriculture and allied sectors will be part of the cabinet.

The Krishi Cabinet will meet every month to take stalk of the situation on the problems of farmers in the state. The state government set a target of 18.2% growth for the year 2015-16.

The Chief Minister said the additional Joint Collectors in the districts have been made in-charge of the Primary Sector Mission at the district level.

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Interview With Visual Effects Designer Vadlamudi Srinivas

Vijayawada born Vadlamudi Srinivas Murali Mohan makes it big as a visual effects designer. He has won three national awards and there is no stopping him. His next big project is Bahubali; from being an amateur logo and title designer to becoming one of the most popular VFX Supervisor in Chennai, he has come a long way. This simple and humble man lives with his wife Philomena and child in Chennai and makes his Telugu debut finally.

What is the percentage of visual effects in Bahubali?

Ninety percent comprises of visual effects. It is a period film and there are no set locations, we had to create them. Some films are based on history and since it is a story that had already taken place, one can go accordingly. Here Rajamouli used his imagination and created the story and he had ample creative liberty. For a fiction like this the scale, grandeur is unimaginable. He showed us that in olden days our ancestors lived like this, he showed it in a believable manner. More than emotions, if there is VFX in the background, we can create a story like this. VFX on the set is small, in live location but after we put everything on green and chromo screen and set up the rest of the screen as a digital extension. There is a waterfall sequence in the story and we were to go to Kerala and shoot the waterfall but he wanted a huge waterfall that would fall from the height of a sky and that is possible only through VFX. Since it is a period film, all non existing locations can be created digitally, it is comfortable.

[pullquote position=”left”] I worked for all Shankar’s films and looking back at the technology used then you won’t be impressed at all. But at that point of time and within the budget given to me I think I did a fairly good job. [/pullquote]

 What would be the impact?

We began with the story and enhanced it on paper and converted it into a visual. Scale wise this is the biggest, money wise I don’t know. People abroad think India is poverty ridden nation but Rajamouli wanted to showcase the luxurious culture and the hugeness comes out of this culture. When you convert it visually it looks very believable and people abroad will know India was this lavish aeons back.

How many worked on VFX?

Around 600 artistes, from 15 to 16 studios all over the world worked on it. A Bison sequence is made in an Indian branch of the foreign company. We can’t go to a Bison and stand in front of it. We can’t trouble the animals, but now we have the capacity to mould the subject as per our requirement in a photo realistic manner. All action has been created on CG, the necessity of animals has been cut down and we could bring any kind of emotion we wanted through it digitally for example the elephant gets up stands and does namaskar.

 Has special effects been upgraded post Robot?

I worked for all Shankar’s films and looking back at the technology used then you won’t be impressed at all. But at that point of time and within the budget given to me I think I did a fairly good job. The next five years you will see the highest upgradation in special effects. What was shot then was the benchmark at that time. Anything digital is CG and CG is part of visual effects. In Brothers both people are stuck together, we shot them separately and  replaced the head, we didn’t divide them on computers. What you shoot on live differently and mix is CG (special effects)and what you  manipulate over all is visual effects.

 How did you four important men work together?

Budget and time is important for technicians. Rajamouli and his father told a story three  years back. One and a half year was spent in pre production. The story board, concept and thought is father and son’s vision. Once the story creation has been done by the director, me, Senthil, Sabu Cyril would convert it to paper. The first part comprised of – how to use the concept thought, how to shoot and bring it on screen. When DoP gives the visuals how do I convert it digitally. Once that has been done, Sabu garu would in an area would put up a set, use blue screen and green screen and after the shoot I would execute it digitally. It is a combination effort of four people. The artiste’s talent is unbelievable..we show them a drawing of a palace and tell them to act when there is nothing existing there physically. They stand in front of an empty blue screen and they imagine and act. It is tough and  our job became comfy as all the artistes were extraordinar

 Your first film with Rajamouli?

Yes and he wanted me in Magadheera it didn’t happen. Rajamouli also knows what all we know; so that too became easy since he already has knowledge of visual effects, he would give inputs. We all were here for three years since pre production. On paper there is concept ..that there would be a huge waterfall and it is not the level you imagine..everyone has a different level of hugeness. Before we embark we would base the concept on the visual we had on mind. There is no location so Sabu Cyril suggested the waterfall and area beneath was present in Kerala and it was decided we shoot a small portion and the rest would be created on VFX. Senthil knew how huge a waterfall would look if the camera is placed in a particular angle. We would take that frame that has been shot and draw and go for shoot. In post production it was all about how to execute and the budget allocated for it and picking the best studio to do the job. The film has 90 percent visual effects and it is there in every frame, we took support of 6 studios. The shoot would be during the mornings. In the evening we would work on it till 12 in the night, would be up at 6 am again for work. For 3 years this would continue and would sleep 3 or 4. hours. The excitement is that we would shoot slowly bit by bit..and the output would give us happiness. Whatever we visualised is coming true, it is like predicting future.

Vadlamudi Srinivas at Sets

(Sunita Yalavarthi)

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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