Shifting of AP govt depts to Amaravati region commences

HYDERABAD : More than two years after bifurcation, the Andhra Pradesh government, barring the secretariat, started stepping out of its former capital Hyderabad on Monday.

Relocation of departments in the secretariat will be done between June 29 and July 21. The office space at the Andhra Pradesh Government Transitional Headquarters at Velagapudi village, about 15 km from Vijayawada, is still being readied. Vijayawada and Guntur cities will house various departments till the new state-of-the-art capital, Amaravati, is built.

For good measure, most of the offices of the Heads of Departments (HoDs) have opened up in the capital region — not the Capital city — as they are temporarily located in different places depending on the availability of space. In all, offices of 115 directorates and commissionerates and 32 departments from the secretariat along with 25,000 employees — some with their families — were on the move as Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has set a deadline of June 27 for relocation.

A committee comprising Special Chief Secretaries B Sam Bob and Ajeya Kallam and Principal Secretary K S Jawahar Reddy estimated that at least 5 million square feet of space is needed for relocating all government establishments.

The chief minister, legislative Assembly, council and secretariat staff will be accommodated at the interim-secretariat complex with 4 lakh sqft area being built in Velagapudi village.

All the HoDs were asked to find office accommodation elsewhere. Naidu will officially launch shifting of five departments to 5th block of interim secretariat on Wednesday.

So far, several key departments shifted completely to private and government buildings in Vijayawada, while some key departments shifted to Guntur. At least 20 other departments are in the process of shifting with the latest deadline being August.

Though the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014 provides for Hyderabad serving as the common capital for 10 years, the TDP government is keen that its staff move out as soon as possible to ensure that it is closer to the people.

However, the government has to announce a slew of incentives to its staff to leave Hyderabad, including five-day work schedule, flexible work hours, 30% hike in house rent allowance and leave to visit families in Hyderabad over weekends.

A special Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Guntur shuttle train was also launched last week by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.