The crisis triggered by the Centre’s decision to grant a separate Telangana state and the resultant ill will has led to a complete cessation of activities in the state secretariat which is the seat of power of the government. “No funds are being released for any project and no major proposal is being cleared. No constructive official meetings are being held. There is only speculation about what’s going to happen next,” lamented a principal secretary to the government of Andhra Pradesh.
The great divide between Telangana and Andhra has hit every department. “In this surcharged atmosphere, if funds are released for a certain project in a certain region in a routine manner, those from the other regions are charging us with bias. Hence, until things cool down, we are not going to clear any files,” confessed a senior official. “Ministers are anyway very busy in political activities. Where do they have the time to attend to official work,” he added.
In fact, TRS leaders met chief minister K Rosaiah on Friday and alleged that the funds released for the Telangana region by the panchayat raj department was very meagre as compared to what was sanctioned for the other two regions. “At present, the CM is heading an administration that has ceased to function. If the impasse is not broken soon, the progress made by the state in the last decade may well get undone,” claimed the official.
In the irrigation department, funds are not being released for the much publicised Jalayagnam projects. “At present, Rs 88,627 crore is needed for the completion of irrigation projects in the Telangana region while Rs 43,000 crore is needed for the projects in the other two regions. Release of funds for a project in any one region will invite flak from the other regions,” said a department official justifying the inaction.
The industries department too has been badly hit. “Due to the political uncertainty, investors are not showing interest in implementing even the projects that they have already committed. One potential investor has opted out of his project near Hyderabad on the grounds that Telangana would not have a sea port once it comes into being and that this would not make his project viable. At least half-a-dozen investors who had shown interest earlier in AP now want to go to another state,” an industries department official said.
Similarly, in the education department, officials are worried that things may reach a flashpoint anytime. “There is a huge disparity in the release of funds for the universities in different regions. For example, while the varsities in Telangana are cash-starved, those in other regions, especially in Kadapa district, are flush with funds. All these issues may be raised by the warring groups anytime now,” said officials.
The chief minister himself has admitted that the NREG scheme has come to a standstill in the last 20 days.
“Not only in the secretariat, but in the GHMC and all other municipalities and panchayati raj institutions, developmental activities have ceased,” said an official.
The contractors of various projects are a worried lot, as the payments are not forthcoming. “I am really worried about the payment of my bills as the officials have already started viewing me as an outsider,” said a contractor from Prakasam district who has taken up a road work in Medak district. “The Centre does not seem to be aware of the damage it is doing to the state by prolonging the crisis as its continuation will adversely impact the region, whether it remains united or splits into two,” lamented an official.