Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao returned to Hyderabad last night from the national capital, a day ahead of his five-day scheduled visit, with out mentioning `Special Category' status to the state from the Centre, but attempting for establishing rapport with Narendra Modi government. During his meeting with scores of union ministers, Rao primarily tried to ensure smooth relationship with the centre in the background of strained relations. He has succeeded in getting assurance from several ministers on various individual projects.
Chief Minister's meeting with Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu's at later's residence over lunch gained more prominence, as for the firth time both of them were seen in good terms as agaisnt TRS leaders frequent accusations against Naidu alleging acting against interests of Telangana colluding with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
However, Rao was unable to meet Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharathi who was out of station. During his meeting with Union Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh, he sought assistance for Panchayat Raj, Water Grid and Rural Development projects but the Minister assured of Centre's support possibly in the budgetary allocations of 2015-2016.
During his hour long meeting with Venkiah Naidu, Rao expressed concern over urban governance referring to Hyderabad and asked for Centre's support to implement infrastructure projects including Water Grid, Urban Commuting and Housing for All. He told the Centre that the cities and towns in Telangana were performing better than many others in the country under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM).
He expressed concern over the state of affairs in urban governance and the need to transform it through necessary reforms to make urban local bodies rise to the challenges of rapid urbanisation and convert the same into opportunities. Both of them shared views on building infrastructure in the cities and towns of Telangana, water supply and sanitation and developing some of the existing cities as smart cities.
Naidu mentioned the new initiatives of the Centre in urban sector and possible assistance to the State. Naidu assured the Chief Minister of complete support and cited assistance through Centre's initiatives such as Housing for All. Both the leaders agreed on collaborative effort between the Centre and States to address challenges of growing urbanisation. Naidu explained to KCR about the flaws in implementation of JNNURM which fell short of targets but how to bring effective changes.
However, he complimented KCR's initiative to build two room houses for the economically weaker sections. Naidu also assured KCR to release funds under the new scheme for 500 cities which will be launched by the Centre soon. When KCR asked for funds under JNNURM regarding release of funds to the water supply schemes at a total cost of about Rs 1,600 crores, Naidu clarified that the previous UPA government had wound up JNNURM on 31 March 2014 and did not release any funds for these schemes. KCR also met Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari before he flew to the State capital.