Vijayawada: Governance has come to a halt in the state with the absence of the Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu who is on a three-nation foreign tour. Along with the Chief Minister, six other ministers are also on foreign visits and this has stalled work in their respective departments. With the absence of Lokesh in the capital city since Thursday, no minister attended the Secretariat. The fact that it was Diwali only added to the sparse attendance.
Generally, when the Chief Minister is out of the state, availability of ministers in the Secretariat is meager. This time the ministers had scheduled to complete their pending work.
The Chief Minister had formed a five-member committee to monitor the post-cyclone situation and other affairs of the state on an emergency footing in his absence. The committee, which was supposed to meet as suggested by Lokesh (who is also a committee member) on October 20, hasn’t met yet.
Along with the above, there are are other pressing issues in the state which aren’t being addressed. For instance the monitoring and control of corporate student suicides in the state, which are worrying parents. Mr Naidu, just one day before his foreign tour, had organised a meeting with corporate educational managements and had framed a few guidelines. But parents are worried with no mechanism to monitor the implementation. In addition to this there are many issues that need to be resolved on a daily basis.
Mondays and Thursdays are ‘grievance days’ in which the public can directly meet the respective ministers and officials to report their grievances at the Secretariat. As the public from across the state visits the Secretariat on these days, they will be hoping that officials are available to meet them!
A senior IAS officer said it had become a “bad practice” that ministers are neglecting attending Secretariat in the absence of the Chief Minister. He further stated that even officials are following the same practice as ministers rather than acting more responsibly in the CM’s absence.
It’s a season of foreign tours
This is that time of the year again. When ministers take time off from their duties on the home turf and go on foreign tours to ostensibly further their official duties. Along with the Chief Minister N. Chandra-babu Naidu, six other ministers are on foreign tours currently, albeit on various official reasons. The finance minister Yanamala Ramakris-hnudu, and the agriculture minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy have accompanied the Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on his US tour and will be travelling to UAE as well. Youth and sports minister Kollu Ravindra and municipal administration and urban development minister P. Narayana will be joining the Chief Minister in Dubai. HRD minister Ganta Srinivas Rao has also left for the US. Labour, employment, training and factories minister Pitani Satyanarayana will leave for the US on October 25. According to GAD sources, two other ministers had requested the Chief Minister for sanctions on US tours, but so far no clearance has been given to them.
Mr Naidu leads the ministers' in terms of the number of foreign visits undertaken, followed by Minister Narayana who has made several foreign visits to study and research on the capital city construction plans and designs. A few ministers like Ganta Srinivas Rao, Pitani Satyanarayana and others had gone to attend international conventions and seminars on matters regarding their concerned departments. A few others made visits for personal reasons.
A GAD official said that generally the ministers go on official tours though there are times they go for personal visits too. He further stated that currently the foreign tours have increased in number as the present government’s tenure will be completed in the next 12 to 18 months. Meanwhile, the YSRC has another take on the many foreign tours undertaken by the ruling TD. Most of the YSRC angst is targeted towards the CM, Mr Naidu. YSRC leader Botsa Satyanarayana criticised the CM and said the tax payers’ money is being utilised for luxurious foreign trips and enjoyment in the name of investments. He also said the TD ministers are following Mr Naidu’s footsteps.