POSTED BY Landing Lights ON Feb 04, 2015 AT 21:36 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 04, 2015 21:36 IST

India's first smart city Vizag - a British corruption of Visakhapatnam - has been waiting for a long, long time for its moment in the sun.

According to newspaper reports, Cisco Systems has informed N. Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of the residuary Andhra Pradesh, that Visakhapatnam would be the first city in the country to be taken up for development as a "Smart City". A hundred such cities are being planned all over the country by the Narendra Modi government.

Naidu said Vizag has great potential to transform into a financial, IT powerhouse and a logistics hub. 

Actually, this is not the first time grand plans have been drawn up for Vizag. From steel plants to three IT SEZs, industrial and pharmaceuticals parks, massive residential property complexes, Vizag has seen everything... but the promised future. Despite much talk, it never made it as the capital of the residuary Andhra Pradesh after Hyderabad went to Telangana.

As Sheela Reddy wrote in 'Harbour of Hope' in Outlook in 2010, Vizag has been waiting for its destiny for over a century now. 

"For the last couple of years, from 7 pm to 10 pm, herds of buffaloes, tractors, trucks carrying iron rods, white Honda Citys rigged out in bouquets of roses, auto-rickshaws, petrol tankers, Audis, Volkswagens, Skodas, bikers, cyclists and hundreds of schoolchildren returning home from the city's famed cramming schools spill out on the main artery that connects the expectant suburbs to an old town that has been waiting for its destiny for more than a century now.

"Visakhapatnam has a beautiful future," explains a senior government official, S. Satyanarayana, uncannily echoing the words of the British dam builder, General Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton, who prepared the earliest design for the Visakhapatnam port nearly 200 years ago, declaring the little fishing town with its natural harbour as "the city of the future".

Has the jinx been finally broken?

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POSTED BY Landing Lights ON Feb 04, 2015 AT 21:36 IST, Edited At: Feb 04, 2015 21:36 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 22, 2014 AT 15:14 IST ,  Edited At: Jul 22, 2014 15:14 IST

While the Prime Minister's power dressing is making waves internationally, his Andhra Pradesh ally, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu decided to land up at an iftaar gathering in his own trademark style is creating its own ripples, at least on social media.


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POSTED BY Buzz ON Jul 22, 2014 AT 15:14 IST, Edited At: Jul 22, 2014 15:14 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 12, 2013 AT 06:41 IST ,  Edited At: Oct 12, 2013 06:41 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 12, 2013 AT 06:41 IST, Edited At: Oct 12, 2013 06:41 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 22, 2012 AT 18:26 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 22, 2012 18:26 IST

Aditi Phadnis in the Business Standard:

Singh conveyed to Chidambaram well before he was made finance minister that he was getting the job. Chidambaram had some conditions. “It is easy to be finance minister during a boom,” he told Singh. “But times are bad.” Just as PV Narasimha Rao had backed his finance minister (Singh), would Singh back him and keep the wise men of the party out of his hair? Singh told Chidambaram that he would get his full support. He also promised to intercede on his behalf with the party.

Actually, this was unnecessary. Chidambaram has a new place in the dispensation at 10 Janpath since he became home minister in 2008. He has taken a lot upon himself, including the blame for making an “announcement” offering to think about granting statehood to Telangana — when it wasn’t his idea at all but that of the MP from Amethi; in fact he had counselled against it. The party realised later that it was a mistake and it was left to Chidambaram to take the flak — which he did without complaining. When he became finance minister, Chidambaram met Congress President Sonia Gandhi several times to explain how delicately poised the Indian economy was, between stupendous success in hard times and complete disaster... the end of the day, the transition from “with Mamata” to “without Mamata” has, if you think about it, been pretty smooth — leading the chatterati to ask why it wasn’t done sooner. The answer seems to be: because Chidambaram was not the finance minister...

..Is Chidambaram becoming to the government what Mukherjee was? Actually, a lot more. It is Chidambaram, with his unique powers of persuasion, who is now going to act as the channel of communication between 10 Janpath and the PMO. Unlike in the past, nothing will be lost in translation.

Read the full piece at the Business Standard: The Knight In Veshti

So why is the Rahul-was-behind- the-Telangana-statehood-announcement story out now? One obvious possibility: it was clearly a blunder way back then, but now when Congress is close to granting it, perhaps it wants some of the goodwill in the new state to transfer to the yuvraj.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 22, 2012 AT 18:26 IST, Edited At: Sep 22, 2012 18:26 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON May 30, 2012 AT 23:25 IST ,  Edited At: May 30, 2012 23:25 IST

Seema Chishti in the Indian Express: Jagan on its mind

...suddenly, what was kosher when YSR was alive, and what seemed to be serving the direct interests of the party, was enough to alert the most trusted ally of the coalition, the CBI. The CBI then charged him in several unrelated cases and saw it proper to finally jail him in a disproportionate assets case. How assiduous the CBI has been in other similar cases is a matter of public record. It will be hard to establish that the CBI is acting under undue pressure, but justice certainly appears most selective and is not seen to be done...

The last time Andhra felt slighted by a perceived insult to its chief minister on an airport tarmac — it led to the subsequent emergence of the TDP — there were consequences for national politics. The imprint lasted for at least 20 years. This time if the ruling party again believes it can get away with taking Jagan on, by insinuating that what had happened when YSR was around was okay but not anymore, then it may be in for a rude shock.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON May 30, 2012 AT 23:25 IST, Edited At: May 30, 2012 23:25 IST
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