HYDERABAD: Though Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is sending out feelers that he wants to shift the capital from Hyderabad to Vijayawada at the earliest by relocating the offices of Heads of Departments (HoDs) there, the three-member official committee, which was set up to submit a report on the office space requirement and other infrastructure facilities, is finding it difficult to submit its report to Naidu within the stipulated fortnight timeframe, which will expire on September 28.
According to sources, the panel might take at least another month to prepare its report. The reason is that HoDs and senior officials of various departments are against the proposal of immediately relocating the offices to Vijayawada as they feel that this decision would impose financial burden on their families.
“Several of the government staff who are working in HoDs have got school-going and college-going children. It is not possible to shift our families in the middle of the academic year. We are against this proposal of shifting the offices of HoDs on a war-footing. We need sufficient time to relocate ourselves to Vijayawada,” a senior official said.
Another official said that if his office is moved to Vijayawada right away, he would have to keep his family in Hyderabad as his children are studying here and at the same time he would have to rent a house in Vijayawada for his stay there. Thus, he would be imposed extra financial burden because of government’s decision to relocate the capital forthwith.
“The CM appears to be eager to shift some of the offices for political reasons. But, there are no sufficient buildings in Vijayawada to house even all the offices of HoDs,” an official pointed out. According to sources, during the meeting that was conducted with the HoDs by the three-member panel recently, officials of finance, revenue, excise and some other key departments felt that it was not appropriate to shift the offices of the HoDs of these departments until the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) and High Court are relocated to Vijayawada.
Their argument is that officials of these core departments need regular interaction with the Chief Minister directly and also need his guidance on their day-to-day functioning. Moreover, as the officials of these key departments have to prepare the government’s arguments to be presented before the High Court pertaining to cases/petitions on various government policies, they say that it is unwise to shift the HoDs of these departments straight away.
In fact, the State government in its order, issued on September 13, had asked the three-member panel to submit its report within 15 days. The panel was formed with principal secretaries of finance, transport, roads and buildings, and municipal administration and urban development departments.
D Sambasiva Rao, principal secretary of municipal administration department, who is the convener of three-member official panel, said, “We have asked secretaries concerned to gather the views of the officials/employees in their departments to prioritise the HoDs that are to be shifted to AP immediately.”
MINISTERS SEEK TIME
A section of ministers are also averse to the proposal of immediately relocating the capital to Vijayawada. “Why should we be in a hurry to relocate the capital when the government can utilise the infrastructure in Hyderabad for ten years?” a Minister said. Interestingly, the minister, who is from coastal Andhra, felt that lack of sufficient air connectivity to other districts from Vijayawada would also make it easy to operate from Hyderabad than from Vijayawada.
There are conflicting views among the officials/employees on shifting the HoDs to Vijayawada right away. Those officials/employees who hail from Krishna and Guntur districts are defending the government’s plans to relocate the offices to Vijayawda whereas others are opposing it tooth and nail. For instance, APNGOs president P Ashok Babu wants the seat of power to be relocated to Vijayawada immediately to keep the administration among people of AP. But, AP Secretariat Employees Association president U Muralikrishna feels that the government should relocate the capital to Vijawayada only after addressing the issues raised by the government employees.