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HPCL Chairman and Managing Director S. Roy Choudhury on Monday said they could curtail the damage due to blast and fire leading to collapse of cooling tower at the Visakh Refinery by taking timely action.stating that they had installed world-class fire fighting equipment, he told reporters that they could prevent spread of fire to other sensitive units of the refinery due to immediate intervention.
Earlier, Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy, Congress MLAs Malla Vijay Prasad and Ch. Venkataramaiah, CPI (M) State secretariat member Ch. Narsinga Rao and others interacted with Mr. Choudhury and other top officials of the HPCL and demanded enhanced compensation and permanent jobs to kin of contract workers killed in the blast. Mr. Choudhury said they had installed state-of-the-art facilities to fight fire and prevent accidents and had achieved compliance to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)-Process Safety Management (PSM) standards.
Terming the August 23 blast as most unfortunate, he said they would take action against officials if they were found guilty. Contractors if found responsible would be blacklisted, he stated. He said they would engage international experts and go for third-party check before commissioning any project and promised to conduct probe into the accident with transparency. Due to timely action, fire that gutted Crude Distillation Unit-3 on May 17 was doused without any casualty.
He said all those injured were being extended best possible health care in super-speciality hospitals. Instead of one-seater, they were trying to engage a three-seater air ambulance to carry patients with less than 50 per cent burns to Mumbai for better care. HPCL doctors have been brought from Mumbai to provide expert guidance.
To a question, HPCL Executive Director V.V.R. Narasimham said they had off-site and on-site emergency response system in place and an arrangement for mutual assistance with neighbouring establishments like the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and the Andhra Petrochemicals.Rajya Sabha MP thanked the HPCL management for agreeing to give compensation to the injured persons and consider jobs of permanent nature through workers’ societies to one member from the families of contract workers killed in the blast.
AP is synonymous with greenery and is better known as the grain bowl of India, and the logo and flag for the Samaikyandhra movement have been designed to represent this imagery, the Samaikyandhra non-political JAC member Chintakindi Srinivasa Rao said.Addressing the media after JAC chairman and former Vice-Chancellor of Acharya Nagarjuna University V. Bala Mohan Das released the logo and flag design, Srinivasa Rao said that parrot green background represented the greenery of the farms and the Telugu Thalli statue was used in the flag to rekindle the pride and affection for the State.
The JAC would support all the protest movements of the constituent members, Prof. Bala Mohan Das said. The JAC would conduct a roundtable with different sections of society, including intellectuals, youth and employees, among others, and draw up a plan of action for the agitation to be taken up to protest against the decision of the Congress party and the Central government to bifurcate the State.
If the bifurcation of the State was inevitable, the Centre would have to prove its commitment by actually creating the infrastructure for a new capital, including roads, sanitation, healthcare, education and industry, among others, before bifurcating the State. The Centre has not lived up to its promise of providing for creation and development of the new capital in States such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, he said.In the undivided State the government transferred the surplus from other regions to fund the development of the State capital Hyderabad. This has led to unequal development.
Expressing his strong displeasure at the lackadaisical attitude of the Congress’ central leadership in dealing with the 60-day old agitation against the State’s bifurcation, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Friday sought to know how the concerns of the Seemandhra region would be addressed.at a press conference, Mr. Reddy spoke of the fate of 1.6 lakh government employees, who were working in various parts of the State under the zonal system.
If the State was divided, at least 30 per cent staffers falling in this category would face hardships, he said. Similarly, there was no clarity on the fate of an overwhelming number of pensioners who had settled in Hyderabad and its surrounding areas.
Mr. Reddy also sought an answer to the issue of employment and educational opportunities in Hyderabad and wondered how it would compensate the youth and students of Seemandhra, who had made a beeline to State capital in search of the same. Quoting the Srikrishna Committee report, the CM said every year 10.6 per cent people migrated to the twin cities, which only proved its importance.
He said government employees were on strike for almost two months despite financial hardship, which only proved their commitment to the cause of united Andhra Pradesh. He justified his concerns, saying that as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, he had every right to think about their well-being and welfare.
Speaking about irrigation projects and the fall-out of bifurcation, he said Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam projects would bear the brunt.“If the State is divided and monsoon plays truant, there will be water war,” Mr. Reddy said.
He said Polavaram project was already facing objections from neighbouring States on the issue of submergence and the same fate would befall Dummugudem and Pulichintala too. He said sharing of river water was the key issue before Centre proceeds with its decision to divide the State.On the power front too, he predicted a gloomy scenario, stating that generation units on either side of the Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar projects would focus on providing power to their respective States.
A delegation of YSR Congress leaders led by its honorary president, Y.S. Vijayamma, called on President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Tuesday and urged the Centre not to go ahead with the division of the State until the people of both the regions were satisfied that no injustice would be done to them.in a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Ms. Vijayamma described the situation in Andhra Pradesh as volatile and said the State was completely paralysed because of the ongoing agitation against the “arbitrary and irrational decision taken by the CWC”.
Observing that there were unique problems as far as AP was concerned, the memorandum said that Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Area has emerged not only as the political capital of AP but also as a super economic power house accounting for 70 per cent of the manufacturing GDP of the State and 95 per cent of the software activity, besides housing almost all the institutions of higher learning.
Seeking to know the fate of investments of people from Andhra region, irrigation projects and water sharing if the State was divided, Ms. Vijayamma said that bifurcation would create huge problems for people of Andhra region, particularly in the context of the entire manufacturing industry and software business remaining in HMDA.
The memorandum said, “We are shocked that the Congress party, which has not expressed any opinion at all on the three all-party meetings held on the subject of statehood for Telangana has, all of a sudden, announced that it is in favour of the division of the State without any public debate and discussion on critical issues like water sharing, revenue sharing and the future of Hyderabad city, in which people of both the regions viz. Andhra and Telangana have been living peacefully for the last 57 years.”
Ms. Vijayamma said there was absolutely no governance in the State for the last four years and demanded that status quo be maintained in case justice could not be rendered to both regions.
Seething with resentment over what they felt was the Core Committee’s one-sided decision to create separate Telangana, Ministers from Seemandhra on Friday warned the party leadership that they would take tough decision if their plea against division of the State was ignored.They dashed off a letter party chief Sonia Gandhi conveying their strong feelings after a meeting of a large contingent of State Ministers, Union Ministers and MPs at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan.
Several leaders wanted Union Ministers to take the mantle of convincing the high command against bifurcation of the State and criticised them for not doing enough for protecting the interests of Seemandhra people. The 90-minute long meeting entrusted to Union Ministers K. S. Rao, K. Chiranjeevi and M. M. Pallam Raju the responsibility of handing over the letter to Ms. Gandhi. In their letter, the leaders recalled how Andhra Pradesh was created in 1956 when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister and how Indira Gandhi had strongly opposed bifurcation in 1969.
Even the Rajiv Gandhi was always against division, they pointed out, and urged Ms. Sonia Gandhi not to take the blame for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. They pointed out that if Telangana was created without consulting them, they would be forced to take certain hard decisions. “The impression we get after coming here is that the high command has taken a decision in favour of Telangana. We want to put as much pressure as we can to see that the high command reconsiders its move,” a senior Minister told The Hindu from New Delhi.
“It’s all speculation”
Talking to reporters, Minister for School Education S. Sailajanath expressed the hope that the Centre would not take a decision without considering the party’s fate in Seemandhra. Minister for Municipal Administration Maheedhar Reddy said that the Ministers were still hopeful that that State would remain united.Dr. Sailajanath claimed that the talk of division was mere speculation.