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Godavari

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Two landmark achievements in September have made the fledgling state of Andhra Pradesh proud. First, coming out in flying colours for creating business-friendly environment in a short time of sixteen months is an acknowledgement of the stupendous work done by Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. Being ranked as the second best state in the country for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ by the World Bank Survey is no small a measure of recognition. And analysts across the country rightly underlined the fact as to how the re-born Andhra Pradesh, under the dynamic leadership of Chandrababu Naidu, ‘stole the show’ in this regard.

The linking of Godavari-Krishna, through Pattiseema Project, is another feather in the cap for the State Government. The completion of the first phase in such a short time was made possible only through the tenacity of the Chief Minister, who stood by his commitment to stick to the deadline – thought of as impossible by his detractors. Pattiseema is not only a testimony to Naidu’s dedication but also to his resourcefulness. No wonder, he has been praised for his ‘political dexterity to quickly reassess his position and come out with a low-cost, temporary solution with minimal impact on river ecology’.

The investments are flowing in, the irrigation facilities are expanding and the economy of the State is showing visible signs of vibrancy. With Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, all set for a grand foundation this month in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the positive vibrations are set to get a further boost for the Sunrise State.

– Ramesh Kandula,

Chief Editor

Launching various developmental schemes and laying foundation stones for Handri Neeva Kuppam canal, widening of National Highway from Kuppam to Krishnagiri, besides launching NACC Centre, inaugurating an automatic silk reeling centre, laying foundation for a boys junior college; Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s 2nd day in Chittoor was a rather busy one.

Addressing a public meeting at Gudivanka village in Guddipalli mandal, the Chief Minister was all praises for the world-acknowledged skills of Indian youth in various fronts, as the youth population in India was high in comparison to China, Japan, America and other countries. “Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is from our State and we are really proud of him. The Indian youth have risen to the level of dictating the world on several fronts,” he said.

CM Naidu made it clear that he would strive for ensuring Chittoor district becomes a foremost educational hub, saying several educational institutions like Sri Venkateswara University, Padmavathi University, Sanskrit University, IIT and three medical colleges besides Dravidian University are in Kuppam which represents the language culture of many South Indian state like, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Telangana.

He also said water needs of Rayalaseema region could be met through linking of Godavari and Krishna Rivers. Handri Neeva waters would be supplied to Punganur and Kuppam by lift irrigation system March 2016 onwards, while a plan for diverting the waters of Pattiseema to Chittoor and surrounding mandals is on the cards.

The Chief Minister reaffirmed his faith on the performance of DWCRA Groups in the state and said that all developmental schemes relating to sand reaches, maintenance of generic medical shops and toilets would be entrusted to DWCRA groups. He said the government had waived interest on the loans to DWCRA groups to a tune of Rs 1,350 crores. “Nowhere in the country were such relief measures taken for self-help groups,” he pointed out.

The CM categorically said that government was committed to the welfare of the poor and downtrodden in the State citing 45 lakh social welfare pensions being provided to the poor. Naidu listed the developmental schemes in his constituency said that he would exercise his powers to open an airport at Kuppam in order to ensure connectivity to Amaravati, Chennai and Benguluru cities besides under-taking road links. Cold storage units and Mega Food Park would come up in Kuppam shortly, he added.

He made it clear that farmers’ suicides would never be allowed in the State adding that government would hand over an ex-gratia for Rs 5 lakhs to the spouse of the deceased farmer, if any. He also assured that Subramanya Swamy temple in Guddivanka would be developed with a budget of Rs 5 crores.

Earlier, the CM reviewed the progress of various developmental schemes in his constituency with the district officials and announced that he would not tolerate any kind of negligence on the part of official machinery in implementing welfare schemes.

Here are pictures of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu inaugurating various projects, addressing public meetings and distributing cheques for old age pension, minorities welfare and DWCRA groups.

Dedicating the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project to the nation, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu unveiled a pylon as ceremonial inauguration of the project. The project, which is being constructed to link Godavari water to River Krishna, would be fully operational by March 2016.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister said the project would provide water to the water-starved Rayalaseema region in the State, without affecting the interests of the two Godavari districts. The project cost is estimated at Rs. 1,300 crore and it is intended to divert 80 tmcft of Godavari waters through Polavaram right canal to Krishna upstream of Prakasam barrage at Vijayawada.

The Chief Minister said the State Government was committed to completing the mega Polavaram project on the Godavari as quickly as possible in four to five years. It is a national project being funded by the Union Government.

Here are some pictures from the inaugural –

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All roads led to Rajahmundry, the 1,000-year-old historical place as well as modern town in Andhra Pradesh, for the grand celebration of Godavari Pushkaralu. The river fete was celebrated from July 14 at 6.26 a.m, for twelve days, and pilgrims, devotees and tourists from all over Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the southern and northern states descended on the town to make Pushkaralu a truly memorable event.

The town is named after Raja Raja Narendra who ruled it in the eleventh century and who commissioned the great Telugu poet, Nannayya, to translate the Sanskrit Mahabharata into Telugu. The town was then known as Rajamahendravaram, which the British subsequently corrupted to Rajahmundry.

The Andhra Pradesh Government made elaborate arrangements in both East and West Godavari districts for the holy event that saw an average of 60 lakh pilgrims pouring in to the banks of Godavari. While the State Government publicised the event well in advance, creating awareness among the people over the once in 12-year ritual, the modern communications too helped attract millions of pilgrims to the Godavari Pushkaram, making it one of the largest congregations in recent times across the country.

The Inaugural

After taking holy dip in Rajahmundry, where the river brims in its full expanse and has been a nerve centre for Pushkaralu, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu blew a conch shell to mark the beginning of the 12-day event on 14th July. Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayandra Sarswathi also took the sacred bath. In the preceding night, a curtain raiser event was held at the Pushkar Ghat which was a cultural extravaganza. The CM, being head of the State, received the ‘Pushkar Akhanda Swagatha Jyothi Yatra’ (torch rally). Later, he released sky lanterns from the Pushkar Ghat. A grand beginning was made for the 12-day fete, as devotees turned up in large numbers to watch the cultural show.


A Tragedy: Conspiracy Angle

The death of 27 pilgrims in a stampede at the Pushkar Ghat on the first day of the Maha Pushkarams left everyone shell- shocked. Fishing in the troubled waters, the detractors made attempts to lay the accusing fingers on the Chief Minister. The government is suspecting that the stampede was the handiwork of anti-social elements. A judicial inquiry was ordered into the incident. The CM announced ex gratia of Rs 10 lakhs each to the families of the dead, while the injured were treated at hospitals with Government aid.

CM Stays Put

Upset though the Chief Minister was over the untoward incident, he immediately swung into action to stay the course. He lodged himself in Rajahmundry for the next 12 days and monitored the arrangements with minute care. He was everywhere, conducting aerial surveys, making midnight inspections, giving suggestions on easing traffic, observing from police control room, issuing directions on preventing health hazards and ensuring that the congregation is facilitated in taking the holy dip in all comfort and peace.
Besides conducting aerial surveys and frequent field visits, the CM moved on a river cruise and inspected all the ghats around Rajahmundry. He also checked the details of water being discharged into sea at Dowleswaram Barrage. While sitting in the control room, he personally reviewed the situation at various ghats and instructed the officials accordingly. He took utmost care for providing basic amenities like sanitation, drinking water, to the pilgrims and engaged the Fire Services to continuously clean up the ghats with huge water pipes. His personal involvement and initiatives ensured that the devotees had a memorable spiritual and cultural experience.

Impeccable arrangements

The State government of Andhra Pradesh made an array of arrangements on an unprecedented scale, spending nearly Rs 2000 crore for this humungous event. Be it free transport in Rajahmundry, or facilities like water, food and medication – they were all made available in plenty. About 275 ghats in the twin districts were made ready, the most prominent one being the 1.5 km long ghat at Kotilingala in Rajahmundry. Pushkar Nagars with amenities for pilgrim stay were built at several places in the city. More than 300 sanitation workers from Tamil Nadu were hired to keep the Pushkaram ghats spic and span on a daily basis. The workers, who had expertise in garbage collection and sanitary works during river jamborees, were put on round-the-clock duty removing solid waste and cleaning up the ghats.

Replicas of famous temples of the State were arranged on either side of the river for the pilgrims of Godavari Maha Pushkaralu. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam put up an expo with miniatures of 11 famous shrines of Srikalahasthi, Srisailam, Kanipakam, Vijayawada, Annavaram, Dwaraka Tirumala and Simhachalam and deputed its priests to perform daily rituals. The temple replicas witnessed huge rush every day.

The Godavari Harati at dusk every evening was a thrilling spiritual experience for the thousands of devotees who gathered at Pushkar Ghat daily.


Pushkaram Highlights in a nutshell

  • A whopping 4.9 crore pilgrims took holy dip in river Godavari in both districts
  • As many as 287 bathing ghats served on both sides of the river
  • 6.65 crore drinking water packets were distributed
  • 70 lakh butter milk packets distributed
  • 3.25 crore – ‘Pinda Pradhanam’ rituals performed
  • 248 medical camps were set up
  • A Total of 171 CCTV cameras were installed in and around the ghats
  • 12,173 number of announcements on missing persons
  • 1,927 APSRTC buses made 4,098 trips
  • 300 City buses operated
  • 60.85 lakh Passengers availed RTC services
  • 15 lakh travelled on trains
  • 650 Cultural programmes were organised
  • 22 km wire broadcasting system used to telecast Pushkarams live across Rajahmundry

Number of pilgrims

Scientific estimate

The officials used various techniques to count the number of sojourners to the Ghats. The data was collected from the CCTV footages and photographs taken at different times of day; with the help of the security personnel, the head count of the pilgrims at the ghats was also considered. The policemen and volunteers, who were managing the queue lines counted the pilgrims passing through their gates; vehicles entering the city and other places. It was further estimated through the traffic of RTC buses and the trains. On the concluding day, the Minister for Information and Public Relations, Palle Raghunatha Reddy explained how the total number of pilgrims- 4.91 crores was calculated. The Minister affirmed that 3.42 crores of devotees took holy dip in the ghats of East Godavari, whereas in West Godavari the number was 1.49 crore.

Pilgrims, who travelled from far and wide, could take the holy dip in Godavari in a relaxed atmosphere as Government agencies & voluntary organisations took every care.

Godavari Harati

The Godavari Harati, on the lines of Ganga Arti, initiated by the State Government on the eve of Godavari Pushkaralu, has turned out to be the highlight of the 12-day event. Godavari Harati, presented daily at dusk on the river bank, is similar to the Ganga Harati at Haridwar and Varanasi. Enthralled devotees thronged the Pushkar Ghat every evening to experience the spiritually thrilling tribute to the sustenance of life. The ritual of Godavari Harati performed by Vedic pundits on a specially designed pedestal on the river made for dazzling viewing. The Harati, which will be a regular feature henceforth, turned out to be the special attraction for many who came from far and wide. The light and sound show conducted at the inaugural event, too, was much appreciated for its creativity.

Valedictory on a Grand Scale

After 12 days of uninterrupted celebrations, the Godavari Maha Pushkaralu-2015 concluded on a grand note with enticing cultural programmes and an extravagant display of fire crackers on the banks of river Godavari on 25th July. The city, including all bathing ghats, was beautifully decked up with fountains, paintings and statues of Telugu stalwarts. The laser show, release of sky lanterns, firecrackers and ‘Godavari Nitya Harathi’ organised at the Pushkar Ghat impressed thousands of pilgrims gathered at the venue. The light and sound show apart from Godavari Nitya Harathi, which was all entrusted to noted film director Boyapati Srinu, also enthralled the devotees.

Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, who was present at the valedictory ceremony, appreciated Godavari Harathi and said its look was more impressive than Ganga Harathi.

Music concert by reputed Carnatic vocalist Mangalampalli Bala Murali Krishna, flute concert by Pandit Hari Prasad Chowrasia and Kuchipudi ballet by 1,000 dancers from Kuchipudi Natyaramam held at the Government Arts College Grounds marked the concluding ceremony of the mega religious fete. Scholars and artistes flocked to the river banks to talk about the grandeur of the Telugu people, whose history was so tangled with the course of the river.

Kudos to the CM

It is to the credit of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu that millions of believers and nature lovers poured into East and West Godavari even after the first day’s unfortunate incident. The CM’s strenuous efforts in containing the damage and standing steadfast to repair the damage and provide the best care for the pilgrims was appreciated by one and all. His staying put at Rajahmundry all through the Pushkaralu, along with many of his cabinet colleagues, instilled a sense of confidence among the devotees who made a beeline to the ghat from across the state and the country.

Those who took the holy dip did not fail to mention their appreciation at the fool-proof arrangements made and facilities provided to the surging crowds. “We had a peaceful dip at the ghat. Once we entered Rajahmundry, we could see that everything was in place. Every official was helpful. The arrangements made the ritual bath for the entire family easy and enjoyable. We have seen the Chief Minister himself inspecting everything. Only Chandrababu could have managed such a huge crowd. I salute his courage and conviction, “said a beaming Prabhakara Rao, who came from Nellore to the auspicious event.

“It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining…”

Jonna, who came along with her friends, Grams Smith and Brooks to Rajahmundry to take sacred bath, referred to the above quote of Mark Twain, after his visit to Kumbh Mela of 1895.

“We experienced the spirit of the quote, when we have become part of the huge congregation sans barriers of caste, or creed. This fete exerted captivating influence over our minds,” she said.

For 103-year-old Koteswara Rao Garimella of Vegeswarapuram, West Godavari district, bringing parallels between Godavari Pushkarams and Kumbh Mela is absolutely wrong.

“Amongst all the river festivals, including the Maha Kumbh, I visited in my life, the present Maha Pushkaram gives me an unprecedented excitement,” Garimella toldAndhra Pradesh bureau.

While the administration took every care for the smooth conduct of the Pushkaralu, the Chief Minister has to be credited with making the event a grand cultural and social affair.

The extravagant display of fireworks, sky lanterns and dance shows, besides a host of seminars, religious and spiritual discourses during the event was painstakingly planned and executed under the direct supervision of the Chief Minister.

Godavari Pushkaralu have not only been an enormous success but also turned out to be a scintillating example of leading from the front in times of crisis. That certainly bodes well for the State of Andhra Pradesh in days to come!

 

The unfortunate incident on the first day did indeed leave the CM shell-shocked. “For the last four months we have been taking all necessary measures to prevent any untoward incidents incident. But it happened and it is unfortunate,” he said. But undeterred, he rose to the occasion; put his heart and soul into relief operations.  Soon, he personally supervised fool-proof arrangements for the entire period of Pushkaralu. Millions of devotees, however, unanimously praised the CM for his untiring efforts during the grand event.

 

The triumph over initial setback helped strength the resove of the Chief Minister. Wrapping up the event, he said the grand success of the 12-day Godavari Pushkarams would serve as a morale-booster to the State Government, the administration, employees and people of the 13 districts to build a model State. The CM said his plea to different sections to rise to the occasion evoked tremendous response and a collective effort enabled successful management of nearly 5 crore pilgrims who poured in from all directions. “With the same spirit, we can do wonders in future.”

 

 

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Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s efforts to strengthen Andhra Pradesh’s position on the global investment map have started showing results with his latest trip to Japan.

It is the beginning of a long lasting relationship between the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Japan, as Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu toured Japan for the second time in one year, with the objective of wooing investors to the State. During his four-day visit, Naidu held a series of meetings with the representatives of various Japanese companies in order to attract investments to the State, besides entering into MoUs with some of them to help the State government in realising its dream of constructing a state-of-the-art capital for the state.

Collaboration with Fuji Electric

The CM met representives of electrical equipment manufacturer Fuji Electricals to discuss about making Andhra Pradesh’s smart grid project the best in the country, Fuji Electric has identified a site in
Vijayawada for a proposed smart grid project. This will be a pilot project, the main one being planned in Amaravati, the upcoming capital.

Fuji Electric’s Representative Director Yoshio Okuno suggested two models of developing a smart grid project. The first is to develop a model smart grid project for the state and the second being, partnership of AP with Fuji Electric where they can together offer consultancy services to other states in the country. “The initial model could be scaled up to all the cities, and later expanded to the entire state,” he said.

Mitsubishi keen on Industrial Corridor

However, it is Mitsubishi Corporation’s keen interest in investing in the proposed Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor and the Krishnapatnam industrial node that has most enthused the visiting delegation.
In the meeting with Mitsubishi Corporation, Senior Vice President of Mitsubishi Corporation Yasuhiko Kitagawa came forward to partner with Andhra Pradesh under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
As part of their global CSR programme, they are setting up Japan Information and Study Centre at Andhra University. This Centre, under CSR, will promote Japanese language courses and introduce locals to the Japanese culture.

“We are keen on the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor and Krishnapatnam industrial node,” Kitagawa added, calling Andhra Pradesh an attractive destination for investments. Kitagawa requested an approach road to their factory near Tuni. The Chief Minister assured them that it will be completed within 100 days.

Rural Development Programme

Mitsubishi Corporation expressed their interest to celebrate agricultural expert M S Swaminathan’s 90th birthday in collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh government. The Chief Minister proposed Amaravati as the venue for the event.

Further, Kitagawa informed the Chief Minister that, in partnership with M S Swaminathan Foundation, they will undertake a five-year rural development programme in Krishna district from this year.

Dedicated Desk for Japan

In a meeting with the Chief Minister, Yoshiro Tanaka, Chairman, Mayekawa Mfg. Co. Ltd. evinced interest in exploring fisheries sector. Tanaka informed the Chief Minister that a technical team will visit the Godavari districts during August to study fish processing units in the state.

The CM explained the Japanese delegation that Andhra Pradesh is a leading state in the fisheries sector. “At present, we are only a top market in marine exports. We want to expand to other regions by setting up processing units,” he added.

Explaining that the state aims to grow 30-35 per cent every year in fisheries, the Chief Minister invited Mayekawa to guide Andhra Pradesh in this sector. He also informed that the government is contemplating setting up of Aqua University.

Tanaka suggested that Andhra Pradesh should have a dedicated Japan desk in the country. This will generate interest among Japanese investors, he said. The Chief Minister replied in the affirmative.

“One of my colleagues in the METI ministry told me that I must meet you and pay special attention to AP,” Akihiro Ohta of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) told the CM.

 

MoU with Mizuho Bank

The Chief Minister had a fruitful discussion with Tatsufumi Sakai, Managing Executive Officer, Head of International Banking Unit, Mizuho Bank. Mizuho Bank is the second largest bank in Japan and has one of the largest client bases. The CM invited Mizuho Bank to set up their India headquarters in Amaravati. “We are planning to make our capital a financial hub,” he said. The CM also asked Mizuho Bank to consider setting up their back office in Andhra Pradesh. Sakai said that they will encourage their clients to explore investment opportunities in Andhra Pradesh. He also informed the CM that seminars will be held to advise Japanese companies on investing in Andhra Pradesh. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Mizuho bank and GoAP.

Meanwhile, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) will conduct a feasibility study on eco-city and transportation systems. The CM invited Japan Research Institute, which is a subsidiary of SMBC, to collaborate with an organization or university to study the cost of difference between elevated metro and mono rail, and submit a report. Meanwhile, Toshiba has come forward to provide assistance to Andhra Pradesh to optimize power management.

Naidu invited Honda Motor Co., to set up a plant in his state. During a meeting with Shinji Aoyama, COO of Motorcycle operations, Honda Motors, the CM explained about the opportunities for automobile manufacturing in the state.

Softbank to set up 20 GW solar plant

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had a long meeting with Softbank’s Founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, who had visited Andhra Pradesh in June and cracked a deal with GoAP. SoftBank will be setting up a 20 GW solar plant in Andhra Pradesh, apart from offering scholarships in solar power engineering to students. As part of ‘Make in India’ initiative, SoftBank will take up manufacturing of solar panels in the State. Besides offering financial assistance for the proposed university on non-conventional energy resources, SoftBank also came forward to provide scholarships to engineering students who specialise in solar energy.

Meeting with Bank of Tokyo

The Chief Minister and AP delegation attended a lunch meeting hosted by Takashi Morimura,
Dy. President, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ. He invited the bank to set up their offices, especially foreign exchange operations, in Amaravati. Morimura responded positively and added that to boost the state’s investment potential, the bank will promote Andhra Pradesh among their overseas and
Japanese clients.

The CM invited JGC Corporation to explore setting up of a petrochemical corridor in Andhra Pradesh. Replying in the affirmative, JGC said it was keen on setting up a refinery and cracker unit in the state.
Another meeting with Sumitomo was on Bhavanapadu port and a 1,000 MW power project, whose feasibility report has been completed. That apart, Sumitomo has also offered to help increase the agricultural yield. Sumitomo informed the CM that it will begin the research and experimental work this month. Naidu also had meetings with JICA and JBIC heads.

Komamura Corporation evinced interest in making lenses and cameras in India and offered to explore the possibilities of setting up a unit in Andhra Pradesh and export equipment to other parts of the world from there.

CM meets Japanese PM

The main highlight of CM Naidu’s visit to Japan, however, was meeting the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe. The Japanese premier recalled Naidu’s previous visit to Japan and appreciated him on maintaining a great relationship with Japan and attracting investments to India in general and Andhra Pradesh in particular.

CM Naidu invited the Japanese PM to the Foundation Stone laying ceremony of Amaravati. The Japanese Prime Minister assured his country would extend all technical and possible financial assistance to AP for infrastructure and building capital. Later, the Chief Minister presented Tirupati prasadam and a sacred shawl from Lord Balaji’s abode. The Prime Minister recalled that during his earlier visit too, the Chief Minister had presented it during his election campaign.

Meetings with Ministers

The Chief Minster also met several senior Ministers from the Japanese Government during his visit. Naidu met Yoichi Miyazawa of METI (at Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan), Akihiro Ohta of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). Miyazawa came forward with equity participation in the capital development and management.

“One of my colleagues in the METI ministry told me that I must meet you and pay special attention to AP,” Ohta told the CM. He said AP was very attractive to Japan for investments. Naidu pointed out that Andhra Pradesh is keen to be a front runner as part of Japan’s $35 billion-investment promise in India under Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Describing his Japan tour as ‘successful’, the CM, on his return, said that he was confident that the Japanese were keen to take an active role in the reconstruction of Andhra Pradesh economy.

Thanks to the Chief Minister’s relentless pursuit of foreign investments, Andhra Pradesh has begun to interest investors not only from Japan, but also China, Taiwan and Europe. Over two dozen projects, with a total outlay of over Rs 12,000 crore, are expected to be grounded before the end of the year and negotiations are on for some of the heavy manufacturing companies, according to officials.

 

 

With plans to transform Amaravati into a capital attracting international tourists, the state government is mulling setting up a ‘Monastery Boulevard’ in the capital region where Buddhishts from countries across the world can build their monasteries similar to Bodhgaya in Bihar.

During a review meeting on tourism today at Secretariat, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was informed that 13 heritage tourism spots have been identified and will be developed. Further, the tourism officials have identified Kakinada-Hope Island-Coringa Sanctuary-Konaseema as circuit will be developed.

The focus of this circuit will be Godavari backwaters, house boats, mangrove forest, beaches and local cuisine, arts and culture. As part of this circuit, the 2,000 hectare Mangrove forest of Coringa will be developed into eco-sanctuary zone. The Mangrove Forest is the second largest in India after the Sunderbans and is the only Mangrove Forest on the East Coast.

This circuit will envisage a passenger terminal with jetty, Water Sports, Marine/Water Park, Maritime Museum, Sea-plane rides, home-stay facility and convention centre. “We can have 5-6 passenger terminals with jetty across the state. And, e-rickshaws can be introduced to ferry passengers around the tourism spots,” the Chief Minister added.

Stating that most of these projects could be given on PPP basis, the Chief Minister added that a cruise ride from Rajahmundry to Papikondalu (through a tunnel) could be introduced.

To give a major boost to tourism in Godavari districts, the government is working on the “Akhanda Godavari” project. “From Godavari’s scenic beauty to food and locally-made products like Ratnam Pens, everything has to be branded and promoted,” the Chief Minister said, suggesting, Rajahmundry could become the hub of activity of both the districts.

Focusing on the coastal tourism circuit at Nellore, the government has identified 10 tourism projects such as Pulicat Lake, Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, Udayagiri Fort including few beaches.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister also suggested officials to work on a plan to set up resorts and entertainment arenas which are not vulnerable to natural disasters. “Tourists’ safety is of utmost priority to us. For this, we need to install every cab with a GPS tracker. We should have information about every tourist. To ferry passengers in cabs, we can talk to cab companies and make it mandatory to install GPS trackers,” the Chief Minister said.

Emphasizing on creating a tourism circuit including all forts in the state, the Chief Minister asked the department to chalk out a plan and a package.

He also directed officials to instruct all home science colleges to research on food and how our cuisine can be mixed with other cuisines from across the world. This will not only generate interest among tourists about the local cuisine but also give them a new look at their own cuisines,” the Chief Minister said.

“Eventually we can open up these tourism packages for schools and colleges,” he said, adding that every district bus stand and railway station could have a promotional advertisement on the local tourist spots to visit within the district.

State Planning Board Vice-chairman Ch. Kutumba Rao, Special Chief Secretary (Forests) AK Parida, Principal Secretary to CM Satish Chandra, Principal Secretary (Tourism & Culture) Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Secretary to CM Sai Prasad, Commissioner (Endowments) Anuradha and other officials were present.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu awarded those who rendered best services during Godavari Maha Pushkaram 2015.

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The 12-day Godavari Pushkarams ended with an extravagant brilliant display of fireworks, release of sky lanterns and a laser show, with thousands witnessing the grand event from the Pushkar Ghat in Rajahmundry this evening. The Pushkarams, celebrated once in 12 years, was all the more auspicious this year as it turned out to be the Maha Pushkaram, which occurs once in 144 years.

Music concert by eminent Carnatic vocalist Mangalampalli Bala Murali Krishna, flute concert by Pandit Hari Prasad Chowrasia and Kuchipudi ballet by 1,000 dancers from Kuchipudi Natyaramam held at the Government Arts College Grounds marked the concluding ceremony of the mega religious fete.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, accompanied with his family, were among the audience, who thronged in huge numbers to the ghats of River Godavari in Rajahmundry for the harathi.

Naidu felicitated Bala Murali Krishna after an enthralling concert by the latter. BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, a native of East Godavari district, was present on the occasion.

Trains and buses to East and West Godavari districts from different places in AP and Hyderabad ran chock-a-block. Heavy rush of private vehicles was witnessed on the highways leading to the Pushkaram ghats. Many voluntary and charitable organisations provided distribution of food, water and butter milk to the devotees.

The state government held medical camps to provide first aid to the needy pilgrims. Naidu stayed put at Rajahmundry during the 12 days in the wake of stampede incident. The state cabinet held its meeting at Rajahmundry this week.

The state government announced that more than 4.9 crore pilgrims took holy dip in the river in East and West Godavari districts during the 12-day mega event, which came to an end at 6.28 pm.

Here are pictures from the last grand harathi –

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STATE NEWS

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‘యుఎస్‌ఐబీసీ ట్రాన్స్‌ఫోర్మెటివ్ ఛీఫ్ మినిస్టర్’ చంద్రబాబు కాలిఫోర్నియాలో మే8న ప్రదానం అమరావతి :  ఆంధ్రప్రదేశ్ ముఖ్యమంత్రి నారా చంద్రబాబు నాయుడుకు మరో ప్రతిష్ఠాత్మకమైన అంతర్జాతీయ పురస్కారం లభించింది. యు.ఎస్. ఇండియా బిజినెస్ కౌన్సిల్...