“Life will never be the same again for me, my kids and parents.” This is how A Nagaraju, a clerk in the Department of Health and Family Welfare, summed up his thoughts minutes before boarding a bus to the AP new capital region here on Wednesday morning.

Today’s journey was different for 200 State Secretariat employees as they were leaving Hyderabad forever in a sense as they will have to work for rest of their service in Andhra Pradesh.

Hyderabad has been the joint capital for Telangana and AP since the creation of Telangana State in June 2014. Even though the AP State Reorganisation Act allows Hyderabad to be the joint capital till 2024, the AP government preferred to shift the State Secretariat to a new building being readied at Velagapudi near Vijayawada.

Humble beginning Four departments – health, family welfare, labour and panchayati raj – began functioning from this afternoon in Block V of the new Secretariat building, which is partially ready.

Though 200 staff and four departments are a humble beginning to make, the government hopes to shift all the 33 departments and over 18,000 employees to the new secretariat in less than six months from now.

For many like Nagaraju, the relocation comes with many challenges. A big worry for P Ramarao, another staffer, is his kids’ education. “My son and daughter, who are in VIII and IX standards in a school in Hyderabad, are not willing to move now as they lose friends and the familiar teachers/school,’’ he said.

There are no amenities near the new secretariat building. They will have to stay either in Vijayawada or Guntur and commute nearly 40 to 60 km daily.

The government has provided special bus services from Vijayawada and Guntur to Velagapudi, besides an intercity express connecting Vijayawada and Hyderabad, which runs five days a week.

Buildings not ready A big task for the government is also to have the construction of the building completed fast. As of today, a few rooms in the ground floor of the 5th block are ready but 90 per cent of the work is under way.

There are only bare pillars and slabs for a couple of blocks while foundation work is still on for some others. Shapoorji Pallonji and L&T are the contractors.

Despite the nostalgia and concern over the challenges, there is also a trace of optimism among the employees.

“We know that shifting is inevitable and we all will cooperate with the government for the development of capital,” said Muralikrishna, president of AP State Secretariat Employees Association.

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