Bill copies arrive in Hyderabad by a special flight

Heralding the crucial phase of State’s bifurcation process, the Home Ministry sent copies of the A. P. State Reorganisation Bill, 2013, by a special flight and handed them over to Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty here on Thursday evening.

President Pranab Mukherjee appended his signature on the draft Bill referred to him by the Home Ministry and sent it back to the Home Ministry without raising any queries on Wednesday night. A covering letter of the Home Ministry to the Chief Secretary, it is learnt, pointed out that the Telangana draft Bill be returned by January 23 after a discussion in the Assembly, indicating the opinion of the House as well as those of individual members. In a practice considered unusual, the draft Bill and its copies were brought in five sealed bundles by Suresh Kumar, Joint Secretary, Home Ministry in a special flight. He drove straight from the airport to the Secretariat and handed over the draft Bill to Mr. Mohanty.

He also later drove down to Raj Bhavan. He handed over copies of the Bill to officials at the Assembly Secretariat, in what is seen as a bid by the Congress government at the Centre to thwart any delays by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy. Without wasting any time, Mr. Mohanty drove straight to the CM’s camp office and handed over the Bill to Mr. Reddy. The Chief Minister is now required to send the draft Bill to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan. As the Home Ministry has taken care to send sufficient number of copies for distribution to the 278 MLAs and 90 MLCs, the Bill is expected to reach all of them by Friday.

An official said it was an extraordinary step for the Bill to be sent by a special flight. “It indicates that either the Centre is in a tearing hurry or does not trust the State machinery,” he said.