All About Power
As Andhra Pradesh reels under a severe power crisis and opposition parties take to the streets in protest against the state's negligence, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is pitching for a share in 300 MW unallocated power from the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. Attempting to beat Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha in the race for allocation, Kiran Kumar says that it is only fair that Andhra Pradesh gets its share. The situation is serious enough for the CM to admit that his government is unable to supply seven hours of uninterrupted power supply to farmers. He says this would now be broken into two spells because a sudden spurt in demand had damaged equipment. Attacking Reliance again over gas allocation in the Krishna-Godavari basin, Kiran Kumar says that even if the state wants to buy power from outside, it is not available. According to statistics reeled out by Kiran Kumar, the lack of water in reservoirs like Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar has resulted in a shortage of 29 MU of power even though his government was spending Rs 15 crore a day to buy power. A decrease in gas supply and inferior coal from the Mahanandi fields had resulted in further shortfall, explains the CM.
Giving out his own expert tips, Kiran Kumar asked ministers to set an example by saving power. He asked commercial establishments not to use too much power in lighting up hoardings, citizens to keep marriage ceremonies simple. About accusations by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti that the State Secretariat is a giant power consumer, Kiran Kumar had this to say: All the windows in the Secretariat are sealed shut. Otherwise, I'd stop the air-conditioning and have the windows thrown open.
Kissa Kursi Ka
Rajya Sabha member and former Praja Rajyam president K Chiranjeevi who celebrated his birthday on August 22 is making no bones about his political ambitions. In typical filmi style, Chiranjeevi told mediapersons in Delhi that he found no fault with people wanting to see him occupying the CM's gaddi. His close aides and ministers in the Kiran Cabinet, C Ramachandraiah and Ganta Srinivasa Rao have been issuing statements off and on to the effect. However, Chiranjeevi, decided to bare his heart on his 57th birthday when he said that he could render better services to people if he occupied a higher position in public life. "Such demands show people's affection for me," says Chiranjeevi. Such statements would however not win him the affection of Kiran Kumar who spends more time fighting for his gaddi than on moving files.
At All Costs
Even as the CBI named Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao in the fourth chargesheet in the Jagan case, 24 ministers held an emergency meeting to up the pressure on Kiran Kumar. While the minister has resigned on moral grounds, the CM is yet to accept his resignation. Needless to say, he is waiting for a signal from the high command. The 'Save Dharmana' mission launched by ministers comes at a time when the state is grappling with various issues such as the power crisis, a junior doctors' strike, lack of funds for the college fee reimbursal scheme, engineering colleges revolting over a fee cap, farmers in distress etc. Officials at the Secretariat do not remember the last time so many ministers got together to solve people's issues. But when it comes to saving their own skin, they pull out all stops. The issue is that one former minister, Mopidevi Venkata Ramana is already in jail. If Dharmana too follows suit, there are other ministers in line. So Kiran's Cabinet members want him to stem the flow. While heavy duty politicking might keep Dharmana safe for a short time, the aam aadmi is sick of the transparent selfishness of Congress leaders. Sink or swim, the saying might go. But staying afloat at any cost is all that Kiran's ministers are interested in apparently.
Andhra Pradesh is a state where practically every party has a TV channel of its own. Or at least channels that openly support one party against the other. Neutral news is a laughable concept in Telugu channels which rush forth to project the viewpoint of whichever party they are affiliated to. Against such a backdrop, the Left parties, who are already struggling with a scant presence, have decided to take the bull by the horns. Both the CPI and CPM are launching their own news channels. Since being 'different' is everything when its comes to movies or the media, CPI is apparently mulling an all-woman channel. That way, they not only champion their party's cause but that of the fairer sex as well.
The popular Arogyasree health scheme which was launched by Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy won the Congress the hearts of many people. But the Congress government is now carefully and quietly detaching the late YSR's name from the scheme. YSR's portraits in the Arogyasree office have already vanished. Following suit are his photographs which all Arogyasree forms carried. Instead it is Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's picture which has staged a late entry on all paperwork and official documents related to Arogyasree. The Chief Minister is the chairman of the Arogyasree Trust. But going by the rate at which chief ministers are coming and going, perhaps it would be wiser to do away with photographs altogether.