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    Visakhapatnam:

    The Kancharas or metal smiths of Visakhapatnam, who were once known across the world for their ability to manufacture custom made metal objects, no longer gets business.

    During the colonial era, the Kancharas thrived and made regular and fancy objects from gun metal, copper, brass and bronze. However, this thriving industry soon went into a recession after the introduction of machine manufactured metal ware in independent India. Within a span of three decades, the metal smiths of Vizag gave up their traditional trade.

    “Vizag was a thriving trade centre and the British, having recognised the skill and abilities of the worksmiths, set up a fort in Visakhapatnam in the late 17th century. The Europeans used them in manufacturing ships, metal ware and ivory-inlaid works. Much of the trade from Vizag was for metal, alloy ware and ivory crafts. This fact was mentioned in the 1907 Vizagapatam District Gazateer,” observed history buff BS Mahesh, adding that zamindars of the region along with the British establishment and the local traders patronised these craftsmen.

    However, post estate abolishment and rapid industrialisation in India, many of these Kancharas who had an entire settlement to themselves (Kancharapalem), were forced to seek new ways to earn a living. “The zamindari and Estate Abolition Act 1948 along with the introduction of land reforms sounded the death knell to these craftsmen as their traditional customer base such as the zamindars, inamdars, and big landowners died out,” said old timer DN Sinha.

    Sinha further added that the post-independence era coincided with a huge boost to modern industry in Visakhapatnam, which eventually resulted in many of the younger generation of Kancharas taking to modern skills more suitable for employment in the heavy industry.

    Sinha said earlier, Vizag had several karkhanas (factories) as well. “Many of my family members picked up metal and ivory art objects from Vizag as souvenirs to take to Europe and America.” He, however, pointed out that many of the accomplished smiths and artisans also failed to pass on their skills to the next generation as a result of which the karkhanas shut shop.

    A noted interior designer in Vizag said, “Metal workers and ivory-artisans of that calibre do not exist in Vizag any more. Most of them are either not alive or have left the place for good. Kancharapalem is only a colony in Visakhapatnam today and the metal workers are history.”

    Those still continuing with metal work at Kancharapalem are either associated with some manufacturing and heavy industry or are skilled mechanics running garages. “The fact that the industrial estate is right next to this colony is proof of the fact that the legendary skills of these kancharas are still being used, albeit in modern industry.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Visakhapatnam News / Venkatesh Bayya / TNN / January 04th, 2017

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    The shifting of the Andhra Pradesh administration to Amaravati crossed a major milestone on Monday with the opening of 14 departments in and around Vijayawada.

    The offices of Directors and Commissioners and more than 1,000 employees have shifted from Hyderabad.

    These are now located in Vijayawada and Guntur and a handful in Mangalagiri.

    The new offices wore a festive look, with Ministers and officials opening them formally to the chanting of mantras and playing of nagaswaram.

    Employees decorated their new offices with rangolis, and officials signed files with a smile. Staff already here welcomed their colleagues from Hyderabad with bouquets.

    The head offices inaugurated in Vijayawada on Monday include: Anti-Corruption Bureau, Beverages Corporation, Rural Water Supply, Stamps and Registration, Panchayat Raj, Archaeology and Museums, Economics and Statistics, Higher (Collegiate) Education, Prohibition and Excise, Tribal Welfare and Women’s Empowerment Corporation, Planning Board and Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh.

    SC Finance Corporation was inaugurated in Guntur.

    Officials enquired with the staff about the facilities being provided for the employees. Some officials were actively competing to meet the deadline set by the Chief Minister.

    The government initially set June 15 as the deadline for the shifting and later pushed it to June 27. As the search for rented buildings took longer than anticipated, the government has allowed the process to take place by August.

    Construction of the Interim Secretariat Complex (ISC) at Velagapudi in Guntur district gained pace after Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu wanted the government to fully function from there.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / by Rajulapudi Srinivas V. Raghavendra / Vijayawada – June 28th, 2016

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    Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday said that Peddapuram and Samalkot would become twin cities of East Godavari district in the near future.

    Inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Peddapuram Municipality here, Mr. Naidu said that the town had vast potential for development, as it had better road connectivity, natural resources and industrial estates. “We are going to construct an indoor stadium and outdoor stadium here in an extent of 10 acres and lay a double road from Peddapuram to Samalkot with central lighting facility,” he said, adding that the bus stand and market were being swapped for better town planning.

    “A new bus stand will be constructed in the present market. Similarly, the present bus stand will be turned into a market. The entire process will be completed within two months from now,” he said. Stating that the Government was keen on providing irrigation to all the areas and irrigate every acre of land, the Chief Minister said that special focus would be made on irrigation facilities to the upland areas. “Water facility to Peddapuram town will accelerate the industrial growth here,” he observed.

    Earlier in the day, Mr. Naidu inaugurated Centenary Park, cement concrete roads in the town, besides laying foundation stones for the Kapu and BC welfare buildings to be constructed in Kakinada. Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Home Minister N. Chinna Rajappa, local elected representatives and officials were present.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / by Staff Reporter / Peddapuram (East Godavari) / May 19th, 2016

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    Hyderabad  :

    Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who wants to build Amaravati as a world-class capital, has zeroed in on three of the world’s leading architects to conceptualise the ‘government complex’ – which will be the first structure that will come up in the new capital. The three architects are Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas and Richard Rogers, who will ‘compete’ to clinch the deal under the Swiss Challenge method.

    Some of the world’s finest landmarks have been designed by these leading architects from Europe. And Naidu is reportedly keen to utilise their services for the grand government complex that will be the seat of power. The winner of the Swiss Challenge bidding process will conceptualise and design the mega structure.

    “The building will come up in the proposed Government Core area of the seed capital. The state government is keen to complete the complex by 2018. The 42-floor complex will have 1.32 crore sq feet of built-up space,” said a senior official privy to the development.

    Norman Foster has won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is regarded as the Nobel Prize of architecture. He has designed and built the new German Parliament, the Hearst Tower in New York City, City Hall and Millennium Bridge in London and is regarded by many as the greatest living architect.

    Richard Roger has designed the Lloyd’s Building and Peternoster Square in London as also the Millennium Dome. Rem Koolhas had conceptualised the Seattle Central library, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Seoul National University Museum of Art and the iconic Dutch Embassy building in Berlin.

    Initially, the state government invited tenders for selection of the architects through the Capital City Development Management Corporation (CCDMC). As many as 10 firms had responded to the tenders. The government kept them in abeyance as it was not satisfied with the participating firms.

    This time the government invited the tenders through the CRDA and shortlisted a few companies to participate in the design competition. Norman Foster (Foster + Partners), Richard Rogers (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners), and Rem Koolhas (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) figure in the shortlisted architect firms.

    The competition under Swiss Challenge will take place for two days from November 20. “The design competition for the smart government complex will be held for two days in Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) office premises. The participants will give their proposals. Based on those, we will take a final call,” N Srikanth, CRDA commissioner, told TOI.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Hyderabad / by Sribala Vadlapatla, TNN / November 19th, 2015

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    Vijayawada  :

    With a view to highlight the Telugu culture and heritage, a production house called Bharateeyam Arts – the first banner to come out from Vijayawada post the state’s bifurcation – is planning a movie about Amaravati. The producers say they will donate the proceeds from the screenings to the capital development fund.

    Addressing a press meet here on Tuesday, producer V Gopala Krishna said that the film will deal with the political, historical and cultural background of Andhra Pradesh. “The self-respect of five crore people of Andhra Pradesh was hurt by the division of the state. That is the reason why farmers came forward to offer their lands for the capital. The film will deal with the sacrifices made by such people and how the state evolved,” Krishna explained.

    He recalled initially mulling a documentary on the same subject, but dropped the idea later. “This will be a full-length feature film with a commercial angle. The cast will be announced soon and shooting will start in four months or so,” the producer said, adding that the film will be made in two parts.

    While music director-turned-director RP Patnaik will compose tunes, Suddala Ashok Teja and Krishna Chaitanya Prasad would jointly write the script.

    Patnaik expressed happiness to be a part of the project. “Telugu people have a lot of history. This film will start right from the time when we were part of the Madras Presidency to the bifurcation to the present day. It will be based on facts and will not offend anybody,” Patnaik said.

    Veteran journalist Turlapaty Kutumba Rao recalled how Telugu people had to leave Madras and how they thought in vain that they could have a permanent capital in Hyderabad. “I have seen the struggle the state and the people have gone through. We thought after 1956 the wandering would end. But we were wrong. With Amaravati it will end. It will be our own capital,” he said.

    He appreciated the film’s crew for taking up the project as it would help the future generations to have a point of reference. Peasant leader A Bhavani Prasad was also present.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Vijayawada / TNN / October 21st, 2015

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    “This will become a model in government enterprise architecture in India,” chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said.

    The Andhra Pradesh government is rechristening the AP State Enterprise Architecture (APSEA) as ‘e-Pragati’, with which it has become the first state in India to conceive and execute state-wide enterprise architecture.

    “This will become a model in government enterprise architecture in India,” chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said. Developed over eight months in association with Wipro, ePragati is a comprehensive framework for implementing e-Governance that provides e-services to people in Andhra Pradesh.

    The network extends to 33 secretariat departments and over 300 government agencies in the state and seeks to provide a bouquet of 745 services in the government to customer (G2C), government to business (G2B), government to enterprise (G2E) and government to government (G2G) areas.

    It consists of 72 projects grouped into 14 packages with an estimated outlay of Rs 2,358 crores which will be funded and implemented over a three-year period. Of this, the government will invest Rs 1,528 crore and the remaining would come through the PPP mode. “ePragati aims focuses on achieving a unified and connected government with citizen-centricity at its core. The implementation will lead to free-flow of information among departments, paving the way for an integrated, outcome-driven and accountable government,” CM Naidu said.

    source: http://www.indianexpress.com / The Indian Express / Home> Business> Business – Others / by Sreeenivas Janyala, Hyderabad / September 06th, 2015

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    A view of the Amaravathi Road from Seethanagaram in Guntur district | Express Photo

    A view of the Amaravathi Road from Seethanagaram in Guntur district | Express Photo

    Hyderabad :

    The Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to name its capital city as Amaravathi has turned the spotlight on the ancient town, bringing in a wave of nostalgia and hope post-bifurcation of the undivided state last year.

    The move will also rekindle unity among Andhras, feel observers.

    Amaravathi, which means the town that lives forever, was the seat of power of Satavahana rulers and the name has been chosen in view of its historical, spiritual and mythological significance, says Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

    A meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by him last week, passed a resolution in this regard.

    Highlighting the glorious past of Amaravathi, Advisor (Communications) to Andhra Pradesh government Parakala Prabhakar said the government would like to build a futuristic city.

    “With the capital being named Amaravathi, we look back at our glorious past and move ahead. Post-bifurcation, this holds out hope for the future and promotion of unity among Andhras,” he told PTI.

    Tracing the history of Amaravathi, M Somasekhara Rao, a retired history lecturer at Hindu College in Guntur, said, “It is highly appropriate to name the new capital as Amaravathi in view of its significance. It is a good decision. It will rekindle the unity of Andhras,” he said, adding that the name of the city may strike a chord in the South East Asian countries where Buddhism is prevalent.

    The state government has “pooled” about 33,000 acres of land from farmers and other land owners in the Vijayawada- Guntur region for raising the modern city of international standards, albeit a “people’s capital” that is convenient for poor as well.

    Amaravathi had seen three religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism – flourishing in the region, Rao, a former General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh History Congress, said.

    The name Amaravathi may have come from ‘Aramavati’ (house for ‘aramas’ or monasteries), he said.

    Though the naming of the city as Amaravathi has largely been welcomed, the gigantic task of developing the capital stares at the TDP government led by Naidu as the state is now faced with a fiscal deficit of Rs 17,500 crore after losing the crown jewel of Hyderabad to Telangana in bifurcation.

    Naidu, who was once the poster boy of IT and reforms in the country, has big dreams for developing the new capital as a world-class city.

    The Singapore government is preparing the master plan for the capital for free.

    The plan has three components – overall capital region, capital city and seed capital, Naidu had said.

    The Singapore government submitted a report on capital region during Naidu’s visit to the city state on March 31, the capital city master plan details would be submitted by May 15 and that on seed capital would be given by June.

    The government’s decision to name the capital as Amaravathi has largely been welcomed by all, though Opposition parties hold different views on the issue.

    Main opposition YSR Congress had organised protests against allegedly forcible acquisition of land, though it is not opposed to its location.

    YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy had earlier visited the villages in the proposed capital region and voiced opposition of farmers to part with their lands.

    A group of retired officials, who had visited the region, expressed concern over multi-cropped land being taken for building the capital.

    According to LSN Prasad, Reader in Economics in the Hindu College in Guntur, the Amaravathi region has been fertile and witnessed robust agriculture activity with the availability of river water.

    Observing that multiple crops, including rice and a wide variety of horticulture crops like carrot, are grown in the region, he, however, felt that future generations may lose out on the crops.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Andhra Pradesh / by PTI / April 05th, 2015

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    A Sensory Park at Kurnool, Braille printing press at Guntur and Regional Centre for Rehabilitation of Physically Challenged in Nellore district are among the facilities the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will set up in Andhra Pradesh.

    This was announced by Union Minster for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot here on Saturday.

    The State Government had agreed to allot land for the Regional Centre for Rehabilitation of Physically Challenged.

    Eleven districts in the State would have District Disability Rehabilitation Centres.

    “At the Sensory Park the arrangements are such that the visually challenged, hearing impaired and physically challenged would sense the flowers, colours, etc. of a park,” the Union Minster said.

    Zonal Sports Complex

    For the multi-crore Zonal Sports Complex sanctioned to the city, the State Government would have to allot land, he said.

    Asked on the necessity for increasing accommodation for girl students, particularly on Andhra University campus, the Union Minister said that funds would be released for providing facilities to the SCs, OBCs, physically challenged and other eligible sections.

    The university should, however, make a representation to the Ministry.

    The Ministry would also provide funds for providing lifts, ramps and toilets at public utility places such as hospitals and bus stations for making them accessible to physically challenged persons.

    The Collectorate and District Courts Complex here were sanctioned lift and ramps.

    The budget allocation for the Ministry was Rs. 6,500 crore under social justice wing and Rs. 565 crore for physically challenged rehabilitation section.

    Visakhapatnam MP K. Haribabu lauded the Ministry for brining out a compendium of its schemes and programmes for people to understand what it was doing and what help they could get.

    Mr. Gehlot said the Indian team had won 33 medals at the Asian Para Olympics held in South Korea recently. India beat Pakistan in the final of World Cup cricket tournament for the blind.

    International para sports meet

    The Government was planning to host an international para sports meet by spending Rs. 20 crore, he said.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Visakhapatnam / by Special Correspondent / Visakhapatnam – February 15th, 2015

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    Vijayawada :

    The fire services department will be Andhra Pradesh’s first department to move out of Hyderabad. The newly-built complex of the AP fire services will be inaugurated by chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu here on Friday.

    The new fire services headquarters has been built near the police control room in the city. Although the complex was initially designed to locate regional offices, it was later decided to make it the headquarters of the fire department after the bifurcation of the state. The new complex will house nearly 50 officials of various cadres, from director-general of fire services to field officers. The complex also has space for parking six fire-fighting vehicles.

    Fire services DG Nanduri Sambasiva Rao said the work on the complex was completed in a record six months time. The DG, along with district collector M Raghunandan Rao and DCP Taqseer Iqbal visited the complex and inspected the arrangements for the CM’s visit late on Thursday night. Naidu will visit the Ungutur assembly constituency in West Godavari district in the morning and will reach Vijayawada by evening.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Hyderabad / TNN / December 12th, 2014

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    Visakhapatnam  :

    The Indian Navy has finally got a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the AP government to set up a diversionary airfield at Badangi near Bobbili in Vizianagaram that houses a World War II airstrip, Eastern Naval Command (ENC) chief vice Admiral Satish Soni said here on Wednesday.

    The historic Badangi airstrip, which was used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War to move its troops across the region, will now house the Indian Navy’s fighter aircraft fleet and will also be used for training pilots on the new aircraft being acquired by the Navy. Sources said the cost of developing a naval fighter plane base at Badangi might cost around Rs 200 crore to Rs 300 crore.

    Speaking to media persons onboard INS Shivalik on Wednesday on the eve of Navy Day, the ENC chief said that following the state government’s approval, the proposal for acquisition of Badangi airstrip has now been sent to the Naval Headquarters at New Delhi.

    Pointing out that the Navy wants the project to be put on fast track, he said the Navy would forward the proposal to the defence ministry and from there it would go to the ministry of finance. “With the induction of advanced aircraft like P8I and MIG 29K, pilots need more intensive training, which is why Badangi has been identified as the base for fighter aircraft and pilot training,” he said.

    The airstrip, constructed during World War II by Mackenzie Company over 221 acres, was one of the biggest RAF bases in British India and had a control tower, separate underground armament depot and many underground bunkers, besides staff quarters and a natural pond for fire fighting. All those structures were demolished except the runway. In those days, the RAF squadron at Badangi housed supermarine Spitfire fighters, Hawker Hurricane fighters, Avro Lancaster Bombers, B-57 Canberra reconnaissance and transport aircraft. After it was shut down in 1946 after the war, Food Corporation of India used it for some time to store paddy and wheat.

    Today a chunk of the 221 acres is encroached by farmers, the Indian Navy needs a total of around 1,000 acres to set up its base, Soni said, pointing out that they may go for a 4,000-4,500 ft runway to cater to their needs. He said some kind of compensation would be worked out for the farmers currently cultivating nuts, paddy, and sugarcane at the airstrip site.

    On the Naval Alternate Operations Base (NAOB) at Rambilli in Visakhapatnam district, the ENC chief said it would be completed in 2018 with some works already having started and others in progress. Talking about losses suffered by ENC due to Cyclone Hudhud, Soni said Rs 200 crore had been sanctioned for restoration works, which would be taken up one by one.

    The ENC chief said the International Fleet Review (IFR) to be conducted from February 3 to 9, 2016, in Vizag would see 100 ships and delegates of 79 navies of various countries participate and would be reviewed by the Indian President.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> City> Visakhapatnam / TNN / December 04th, 2014

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