BJP MLC PVN Madhav, in an exclusive conversation with Yo! Vizag, gives his opinion on the current YSRCP Government in Andhra Pradesh. The Vizag-based politician also shares insights on a few key projects in the State.
Opinion on the governance by the YSRCP so far
“The intent of the present government seemed to be good initially. The Chief Minister started off on a positive note by stating that he would bring in absolute transparency, accountability and lead the way with path-breaking decisions.
However, a stark difference has been noticed when it comes to the execution of his ideology. A sad example in this regard is the demolition of Prajavedika. Ideally, the issue should have been dealt with by calling for tenders for the structure’s relocation. There are lots of spaces, near the Secretariat, where it could have been moved to, as it is a pre-fabricated structure. Instead, in an attempt to show that he is not going to spare any illegal structures along the river, the CM immediately demolished Prajavedika, leaving it in rubble- a huge loss to the public exchequer.
Furthermore, all the developmental projects were halted in the name of conducting a review. There have been a lot of allegations that money had changed hands in these projects during the TDP rule. In response to these charges, CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy just chose to push all the projects under the scanner. However, it is important to remember that public works are vital for the state’s economy. As renowned economist John Keynes noted, public works create employment. With the government terminating such works, a worrying situation has been observed in the state-a situation that could well compound to a turmoil. There has been little hope for the labourers and others who have been affected as the government didn’t put any redressal mechanism in place. The crisis drove driving many people into severe distress.
The Chief Minister should have taken a leaf out of the NDA Government’s modus operandi against corruption in 2014. As PM Narendra Modi had rightly said back then, the economic activity shouldn’t stop at any cost. Smart steps were taken to tackle the problems effectively. Unfortunately, our State Government looks in no mood to act smartly. Their approach in fighting the corruption doesn’t fetch any praise and has sadly affected the State’s progress.”
Your take on the CM’s flagship programme ‘Navaratnalu’
Sharing his views of the YSRCP’s Navaratnalu, MLC PVN Madhav shares, “Navratnalu is old wine in a new bottle. Most of the nine promises were already being implemented by the previous governments under different names. Addition of two new schemes-abolition of liquor and Amma Vodi-and an enhanced budget are the only two marked changes.
While the motto behind welfare activities is appreciable, there should be a certain level of sanctity while going about an activity. Giving freebies to the public in return for their votes, is a notion that many parties carry nowadays. It should be noted that no government has been re-elected owing to its schemes. Take the case of Odisha. The government there has been voted to power for six consecutive times due to the trust that the CM has instilled in the public. It is the voter’s faith that will yield the party votes. Not freebies or schemes. Investing in schemes, therefore, is a waste of public money. There should a proper rationale behind spending this money.
The loopholes in the Amma Vodi scheme are likely to serve to the benefit of private schools, causing the shutdown of government schools. The motive behind this scheme is not understandable. It would be better off if the funds are directed towards the resurrection of the government schools, as in the cases of Delhi, Gujarat, and Kerala.
As far as the total prohibition of liquor is concerned, it will yield any results. Instead, the government should make liquor available only at specific shops and liquor awareness campaigns should be organised constantly.
Overall, given the way that the State Government is going about its schemes, the Navaratnalu would end up as a huge burden on the state’s exchequer.
Also, emphasis should be laid on making the children well-versed with Telugu. While English education is undoubtedly important in today’s world, students must not be deprived of their mother tongue. Unfortunately, no Telugu medium school in the state is imparting quality Telugu education. The vyaakarana of the Indian languages is far superior to that of any other foreign language. This kind of orientation is not found in any of our administrators. Learning Telugu is being seen as something backward. It is high time that Telugu is given due importance right from primary education in the schools in Andhra Pradesh and the State Government must take steps in making this happen. So far, it has been all vengeance and no development.”
Views on the Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) role as the opposition
PVN Madhav isn’t too impressed with the role of the opposition too. “The part played by the opposition so far is not commendable. Both the parties are busy in mudslinging at each other while the public has suffered. The authorities must respect the public’s mandate and take the necessary steps in addressing their problems. The TDP hasn’t been a constructive critic of the ruling party. The blame games have stooped to a personal level. It would be better if opposition stood its ground at pointing out what the present government should be doing,” he says.
Opinion on the controversies centred on religion in the state
“There have been regular claims that the YSRCP patronises Christianity. Late YS Rajasekhara Reddy had introduced the Jerusalem subsidy during his regime. He had also taken many other decisions that sparked controversies in the state. While we thought YS Jagan would learn a thing or two from these previous experiences, he seems to be repeating the same mistakes, on a bigger scale. Be it the ads of Haj, Jerusalem on Tirupati bus tickets or the giving away of shops in Srisailam Devasthanam to Muslims, numerous activities in the State are detrimental to the very ethos of Hindus. I hope the CM acts wisely, given the history.”
Take on the capital row
“Chandrababu Naidu’s Government discarded the Sri Krishna Committee’s suggestion of picking Prakasam as an option and went ahead with Amaravati for the capital. Mr. Naidu’s megalomaniac vision for the capital deterred his overall cause. In fact, the thoughts for the capital were so unreal that people started calling it ‘Bramharavati’! Given the State’s economic condition, it was not possible to materialise what he had visualised.
To avoid further ruckus, the already existing capital must be persisted with. However, the current State Government must stay realistic. The capital must be grown on its own merit. Amaravati should rather be kept as the administrative capital without all the lavish expenditure and the economic development should be decentralized throughout the state. It is important to note that the development must be decentralised but not the capital,” PVN Madhav shares
Development options for Vizag
“Vizag has a lot of potential in all aspects. The city can be developed as a key point on the trade corridor between Kolkata and Chennai. Tourism is the key; health tourism and education tourism can be boosted manifold.
The export potential of the city is very high as well and should be tapped to generate employment opportunities. Other projects such as the metro rail and the development of international airport should be catered due importance. Industry and tourism should be seen as the revenue-generating sectors. Also, Visakhapatnam Port has been lying I doldrums for long now whereas Paradip Port, in our neighbouring state of Odisha, is going great guns. The State Government’s move to place an emphasis on the Gangavaram Port has done no favours to the city’s Port. The authorities need to set their priorities right and take measures to develop the Port here,” PVN Madhav elaborates.
Response on the Waltair Railway Zone
We had been fighting for the Visakhapatnam railway zone for a long time. While several governments and leaders couldn’t help in converting our dream to reality, the Piyush Goyal-led ministry scripted history by announcing the South Coast Railway (SCoR) with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters. However, the Centre’s move to merge a portion of the Waltair division with the Rayagada division wasn’t taken well in the region. Also, with SCoR being merged with the Vijayawada division, the North Coastal Andhra, which played a key role in the fight for the railway zone, didn’t get a representation in the SCoR.”
In the wake of this, PVN Madhav recently met Piyush Goyal and expressed the concerns of the region. “The response from the Railway Minister has been positive,” he shares.
If Andhra Pradesh needs Special Status
“Given the fact that Andhra Pradesh has abundant resources, the Centre rejected its plea for Special Status. Even then, a special package was offered which the TDP Government hadn’t accepted, thinking that their political interests might be affected. The best that the State Government can do right now is to accept the benefits of the package and ask for incentives across various fields.”
On the Polavaram Project reverse tendering
“The Polavaram Project is a lifeline to Andhra’s irrigation needs. During the previous reign, the project was handed over to Navayuga Engineering, which has a good reputation of handling several prestigious projects across the country. To the company’s credit, it had even carried out certain works at an appreciable pace.
However, the gross mismanagement of the project, by the previous government, did not help the project’s fate by one bit. Huge sums of money were wasted in the name of pompous inaugurations and unnecessary show-offs. Making matters worse, the TDP hadn’t even executed the Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) activity effectively.
When the new government had taken charge, even they set Polavaram as their priority. The Chief Minister, as an act of vengeance against the TDP and in his bid to take the complete credit for the project, relinquished Navayuga from its duties and the hydel project. This was not at all acceptable. In fact, the State Government’s entire approach towards the project is at fault,” PVN Madhav says.