'Process of decentralisation already begun in Andhra'

Process of decentralisation of capital has already begun in Andhra Pradseh: Minister

 A senior minister in the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy cabinet announced on Friday that the process of "decentralization" has already begun,amid speculation that the government will shift its (administrative) operations to port city Visakhapatnam after Telugu New Year Day Ugadi (March 25).

The buzz in the state Secretariat here is that government departments will be moved to Visakhapatnam by the first week of April. Already, the government has issued orders shifting the offices of the Vigilance Commissioner and Commissionerate of Inquiries to Kurnool "on administrative grounds".

The state High Court is currently hearing a petition against the government's move. At a press conference in the Secretariat here, Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said that the government was going ahead with decentralization (of administration) in accordance with the law, implying that the move to have three capitals for the state was very much on.

"The decentralization process began when the government passed a resolution in the Assembly (last month). We will follow the Constitution and the law while carrying out the process and respect the court directions," the minister said. Stressing that decentralization was the "governments policy", the minister said they would go ahead with the plan of having the executive capital in Visakhapatnam, legislative capital in Amaravati and judicial capital in Kurnool.

Asked if the legislative process, which got stuck in the Legislative Council,on decentralization would be taken further or dropped, he remarked that "it will take its due course." To another question on how long the process could take and if there were any specific timelines, Botsa said he did not have relevant information on hand. The minister denied that government employees were opposing the decentralization plan. "They are all happy. We have not received a single complaint or objection from them so far," Botsa maintained. He lashed out at the opposition Telugu Desam Party for 'spreading lies' even in Parliament that Information Technology companies were being forced to vacate Millennium Tower-A in Visakhapatnam to accommodate government offices. "Not a single IT company has been asked to move out. By making such misleading statements, the TDP is only damaging the states interests," he added.

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