Special Correspondent

Each board headed by a chairman to have five members

  • Board structure approved by Cabinet
  • Board chairman to enjoy Cabinet rank

    HYDERABAD: Regional planning & development boards, being constituted for Telangana, Rayalaseema, Coastal Andhra and North Coastal Andhra to achieve a balanced growth of the State, will be vested with several financial powers, apart from the responsibility to play a key role in local planning.

    The boards will be the "sanctioning authority" for one half of the Assembly Constituency Development Fund (Rs. 50 lakhs annually), now kept under the control of the district in-charge ministers. The other half, however, will continue to be spent at the discretion of the MLAs.

    The structure of these regional boards and their financial powers, worked out by a committee headed by Finance Minister K. Rosaiah, were approved by the Cabinet at a meeting here on Wednesday. It may be mentioned that four senior Congress leaders -- V. Purushottam Reddy, P. Sambasiva Raju, Gade Venkata Reddy and G. Muddukrishnama Naidu -- had turned down the offer to head these boards. Mr. Purushottam Reddy had said that regional boards should be vested with financial powers.

    Briefing reporters later, Energy Minister Mohd Ali Shabbir said each board would have five members and would be headed by a chairman enjoying Cabinet rank. A joint secretary/director would be appointed as secretary.

    Mr. Shabbir Ali said the boards, which would meet once a quarter, would frame guidelines for the schemes, sanction funds and undertake periodic reviews. They would offer suggestions to the Government on investments in the backward pockets.

    Under other financial powers, the boards would recommend water supply schemes funded by NABARD and HUDCO, Panchayat Raj roads to be laid with Rural Infrastructure Development Fund and indicate sites for locating Social Welfare hostels.

    YSR complimented

    The Cabinet adopted a unanimous resolution and complimented Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on his being accorded the special honour to deliver the keynote address at World Agriculture Forum.

    It particularly spoke of Dr. Reddy's meeting with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who may visit heritage sites in the State during his tour in November.