HYDERABAD: AP government employees working in Hyderabad now see a larger conspiracy behind the hurried decision to shift offices to Vijayawada. They allege that the real estate lobby is pressuring the government to shift 20,000 employees in one go to boost land prices in and around Vijayawada and Guntur.

They also allege that the state government has taken the decision under pressure from real estate companies and a few influential leaders of the ruling party. Incidentally, some ruling party leaders own large tracts of land in and around Amaravati.

“If 20,000 employees along with their families move to Vijayawada, the city will get an additional one lakh people. This will push the demand for housing. High rental will push land prices which will benefit real estate companies that own land around Vijayawada,” pointed out an office-bearer of AP revenue employees’ association. Earlier, the state government had asked the employees to shift to new capital before the next academic year.

Opposition parties also allege that ruling party leaders had purchased huge chunks of land in and around the new capital region, which had witness spurt in the land prices in the initial days. Later, the euphoria subsided and the prices started falling down. With the fall in land prices, the real estate companies are learnt to have come out with an idea to expedite the shifting of government employees from Hyderabad to Vijayawada.

Many leaders, who represent the government staff, expressed surprise over the state government’s campaign against its own staff. “We never said we will not work from Vijayawada. We have only asked the government to provide minimum basic facilities in the capital region,” said APNGOs president P Ashok Babu.

While agreeing to shift to the new capital, whenever it is ready, the employees have decided to request the government to provide minimum facilities in the new capital region. They also want to clarify to the government that they would be more than willing to work from Vijayawada if all offices are located at one place.

“We never asked double-house rent allowance from the government to work in Vijayawada. It was a malicious campaign against the staff. We are ready to work from the new capital region but we request the government to find a suitable place for the state Secretariat and other offices,” U Murali Krishna, AP secretariat association president, told STOI.

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Source: TOI-Hyd