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AP ministers, babus told to be in office on Fridays for grievance redressal

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Amaravati: Ministers and top bureaucrats of Andhra Pradesh will henceforth have to necessarily stay put in the Government’s Transitional Headquarters (Secretariat) at Velagapudi every Friday to redress public grievances.

“All ministers, special chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries to government and heads of departments are requested to make available at the headquarters and in their offices (HoDs) every Friday to receive representations from public representatives and others for redressal of their grievances,” Chief Secretary Satya Prakash Tucker said in an official circular.

“All private secretaries to the ministers are requested to bring the above instructions to the notice of the ministers and accordingly their schedule may be planned,” the Chief Secretary added.

The instructions were issued based on a directive from the Chief Minister, who received several complaints from MLAs and other public representatives that ministers and senior officers were not being present in the state headquarters.

Interestingly, when the Secretariat opened in Velagapudi on October 3, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu told reporters in an informal chat that there was “no rule” that the ministers should be present in the headquarters on any particular day.

“As ministers, we will be attending many meetings and public functions at different places. So we can’t be asked to sit in the Secretariat on any particular day (of the week),” Yanamala pointed out.

In fact, when Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was Chief Minister (of undivided AP) between 2004 and 2009, he put in place a system, wherein ministers were required to necessarily visit the Secretariat every Monday to take up official work. In subsequent years, that system was followed only in breach.

Things turned worse in the last one year when the Chief Minister functioned from Vijayawada while the Secretariat was located in Hyderabad.

Now that the Secretariat and offices of the heads of department have been relocated to the Amaravati capital region, it is expected that things will once again fall in place.

Another reason for fixing Friday as the “grievances day” is to ensure officers and staff remain in the offices and attend to official work.

With a five-day working week in force because of the transitional issues, most of the officers and employees were found to be leaving for Hyderabad early Friday afternoon or even late Thursday, paralysing work in the Secretariat and offices of the HoDs.

The latest instructions, the government expects, will halt this practice and ensure the officers and staff are available in their positions till late Friday evening.

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