New Delhi: A Congress member on Friday urged the government to implement the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act and sought special category status to the state to speed up its development.
Raising the issue in Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour, Jesudas Seelam (Cong) said the announcements for development of the state were not being implemented despite assurances by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
Seeking special category status to Andhra Pradesh, he demanded special package for its seven districts and creation of better infrastructure like airports, dams and industrial corridor.
Observing that much publicity was given to the Centre's programmes in Andhra Pradesh but implementation was zero, he said "government should implement the Act in letter and spirit".
Tarun Vijay (BJP) demanded better rail, road, internet and other modes of connectivity to Andaman & Nicobar saying it was of strategic importance for India.
Noting that the islands were 520 nautical miles from India and were closer to nations like Thailand, he said it comprised 500 islands of which only 37 were inhabitated which were not linked.
Vijay said the 3.5 lakh population of Andaman & Nicobar including 65,000 government employees, were facing serious difficulties due to lack of transportation means.
While the Britishers had declared it "Kalapani" for freedom fighter, the government has declared it "Kalapani" for the inhabitants and employees as even in case of medical urgency they have to spend huge amounts on airfares to bring the patients to the mainland as ship services were inadequate.
He demanded subsidy to inhabitants besides better banking and other facilities besides creating a memorial for Sher Ali who killed the then Viceroy and due respect to freedom fighers like Veer Savarkar.
Congress member Sanjay Singh sought Government's intervention to ensure holding of elections to the students' union in Banaras Hindu University (BHU), with HRD Minister Smriti Irani saying Vice Chancellor was empowered to do so.
Calling it unfortunate that students unions elections was not held in Asia's biggest University, the BHU, he said Uttar Pradesh has given many Prime Ministers including the present PM Narendra Modi, and urged Irani to ensure that students body polls be held.
He pointed to the long-drawn agitation there to demand student polls and police lathi charge on the protesting students.
Irani, who was present in the House, said no student had died in the baton charge and added that BHU was an autonomous body and "its Vice Chancellor is empowered to take administrative desicisions in relation to the University."
When Naresh Agarwal (SP) intervened saying, "it's a world class university and you should direct its VC," to which Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who was in the Chair said, "the University is autonomous and the VC is the final authority ...Should we challenge the autonomy?"
Raising another issue, Vivek Gupta (Trinamool Congress) demanded more steps to encourage conservation of forests and environment in West Bengal.
Expressing dissatisfaction that despite better performance in forest conservation, gross injustice was being meted out to the state, he said "the (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning) CAMPA funding is nil in the state".