It was supposed to be a historic occasion when functioning of Andhra Pradesh Secretariat was to commence full-fledged from the Transitional Headquarters at Velagapudi in the state's new capital region Amaravati today.
    

But it proved to be a damp squib yet again!
    

First, it was June 15 when Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu wanted the Secretariat to shift to Velagapudi from Hyderabad, the joint capital of AP and Telangana.
    

The date was then put off to June 27 and again to 29.
    

It was just a symbolic act when a couple of departments "moved" into the Transitional Headquarters on June 29.
    

Since then the government repeatedly fixed and changed deadlines for relocating the Secretariat completely, with October 3 supposed to be the final one.
    

Most of the five blocks in the Secretariat wore a deserted look today as the staff did not turn up in strength, while the Chief Minister was away in Hyderabad.
    

He is supposed to move into his new office chamber here on Dasara day, October 11, but that looks uncertain now as some demolition and reconstruction work is going on in the Block-1 in accordance with 'vastu' guidelines.
    

Barring Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and Agriculture Minister P P Rao, no other minister came to their offices today.
    

Only a handful of Principal Secretaries and Secretaries were in attendance. The Chief Secretary was also conspicuous by his absence.
    

Every minister will stay away from the Secretariat at least for the next three days as they will be attending a training programme for Telugu Desam MPs, legislators and other elected representatives.
    

Construction workers and curious visitors seemed to outnumber the government staff at the so-called temporary Secretariat complex today.
    

Almost in every block, one or the other work was still going on as electrical fittings and furniture were not arranged.
    

The computers brought in from the old Secretariat in Hyderabad were yet to be installed.
    

The spacious canteen in the third block looked overcrowded as the staff and the visitors made a beeline for lunch. Food was also in short supply as no proper arrangement was made.


Some Secretariat staffers arrived in two special RTC buses at 2 PM, while many others had to get down either at Guntur or Vijayawada, each 25-30 km away, coming from Secunderabad by a newly-introduced train.
    

The state government failed to get a halt for the train at Mangalagiri, the nearest railway station, some 15-km from Velagapudi.
    

As per the timeline fixed by Chief Secretary S P Tucker, everything should have been in place by September 30 for the Secretariat functioning to start from today.
    

That the Chief Secretary's order was followed only in breach was clearly evident in each block today as bare cubicles welcomed everyone.
    

Only the Finance Minister's official chamber looked completely done as he had been operating from Velagapudi for the past few days.
    

Except a table and chairs, nothing looked in place in the Agriculture Minister's chamber.
    

The staff, who came here from Hyderabad, were seen going round the blocks to locate their exact place of work.
    

"We can't blame the staff because not everything is ready here. As you can see, electrical and other works are still going on, so it will take some time to install computers and begin the actual work," a Principal Secretary pointed out.
    

This being the Dasara festival season, with a few holidays during the week, the actual functioning of the Secretariat might commence only towards the middle of October, he added.