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Tucker holds Krishna Devaraya-style durbar

Amit Mitra
History is replete with the Vijayanagara emperor Krishna Devaraya’s famous durbars, wherein he used to solve a range of people’s problems on the spot.
Some 500 years later, one could witness a similar kind of durbar in Visakhapatam last week, with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Mr S P Tucker, IAS, in the role of the third ruler of the Tuluva Dynasty —this time he was holding a durbar for solving the problems of industries.
The over four-hour closed-door interactive session saw Mr Tucker solving someof the problems of industrialists on the spot, giving strict deadline to officials to solve the other problems, wagging an admonishing finger at officials and promising to put the remaining problems related to policy issues in the forthcoming cabinet meeting.
The Chief Minister Mr N Chandrababu Naidu’s pro-active style of governance found the right echo with his trusted bureaucrat Mr Tucker, who unequivocally reminded his officials that “ Remember, we are public servants and the public is not our servants.”
There is no gainsaying the fact that some problems were solved. But more important, the session, the third in the series, certainly galvanised the official machinery into action. Equally important was that the industry was convinced of the genuine pro-active policies of the State Government.
The grievances put forward by the industrialists ranged from water, land and power to fire and labour related issues. Problems varied from non-clearance of files to delays in providing clearances. Those that related to policy changes would be placed before the Cabinet meetings, which are held by the Chief Minister every 15 days. Over 100 issues were taken up at the meeting .
Fire dept under fire
The Fire Department especially came under fire. Firstly, Mr Tucker was surprised that the meeting had no representation from the department, asking officials to immediately summon somebody from the department. During the course of the meeting, a senior official from the department was summoned.
“If we leave you in the room alone with them (industrialists), they will lynch you,” he remarked on a lighter note. On a more serious note, Mr Tucker wanted the official to ring up his boss and after he came on line, the Chief Secretary firmly wanted to know why some 150 files were pending with the department.
“I want to know why these files are pending. I know your practice of raising silly queries just to delay things,” he told the official, who was literally fumbling for words. “I want to know the status of each of these files by next week,” he said calmly but sternly.
The labour and tourism departments were also rapped. “We are not happy with the tourism department—facilities are not growing. They have messed up somewhere,” he said
Growth rate
Mr Tucker, who was flanked by the District Collectors of Vizag, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam, besides Dr P Krishnaiah, IAS, chairman of APIIC and Mr B S S Prasad, IFS, Member Secretary of AP Pollution Control Board, said the State recorded a growth of 10.99 per cent last year, the highest in India. This year, it was targeting 12.26 per cent and 20 per cent next year.
During the last investment summit, the State received 350 proposals, out of which 250 have been cleared and the remaining will be completed before the next summit, scheduled on January 27.
Walk to work
The State Government is finalising a scheme to help industries set up housing colonies for their employees, as part of its walk-to-work programme. “For instance, we have identified 500 acres near Amravati for 35,000 houses at a cost of Rs 8,500 crore and 250 acres near Atchutapuram,” he said.
Sample these grievances: an industrialist said he was forced to pay royalty for the mined earth for laying the foundation, an issue which Mr Tucker described as a “very sad thing”. Landtech Pharma complained that it was yet to get the required land for expansion. Coromandel International is also yet to get its land cleared. Power interruptions were also affecting production.
Subsidies to be cleared
On the Government’s part, it would be releasing the pending subsidy amounts to industries, which totalled Rs 1200 crore. Every month, we will release Rs 250 crore and clear the pending amount in the next three months, he said.
Not to miss the responsibilities of the industrialists, he ended the meeting, asking each one present to name a village which they will adopt, along with their phone numbers.

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