AP CM Chandrababu Naidu meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday
New Delhi: Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday drove a hard bargain with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Delhi on fulfilment of various commitments made to the reorganised state of Andhra Pradesh, including funding of Polavaram Project in full, liberal allocation of funds in the next budget for Amaravati and honouring the various provisions of the special package promised to the state in lieu of special category status.
The Chief Minister's meeting with the Prime Minister was a long awaited one since Naidu could not get time with the leader of the nation for more than a year, setting off speculation that the honeymoon between the BJP and the TDP was on the rocks.
Armed with a 17-page memorandum on what was due for the state, Naidu spent considerable time with Modi going through the entire gamut of the demands. Narendra Modi, according to Naidu, had listened to him attentively and promised to sort out the issues at the earliest, which is being interpreted as a positive indication that the ice that had formed between the two leaders has begun melting. "The Prime Minister said he would sort out the issues. We have to trust him and hope," he said, at a media conference after his meeting with Modi.
Naidu said he had prevailed on the Prime Minister on the need for the Centre's intervention in resolving inter-state issues by calling ministers of the states concerned. "I am ready for talks. If the Centre also cannot do justice, then we may have to choose the last option, seeking legal remedy," he said.
The Chief Minister said he had reiterated that the state needed hand-holding by the Centre till such time it was on par with other states as after the bifurcation, the reorganised state had been left high and dry. "The AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 had stated that several central institutions would be set up in AP, besides bridging the revenue gap of Rs 16,078 crore of which only Rs 3,907 crore had so far been released," he said.
As regards special package offered to the state, Naidu said he had reminded Modi that the state had to receive Rs 17,000 crore under this programme. “I wanted the Centre to tell the state as to how they were going to release the funds so that guidelines could be evolved for the utilisation of funds. The Chief Minister contended that since division was thrust on the state it was the responsibility of the Centre to keep track of the progress of the issues and resolve them. He also raised the issue of transfer of a huge debt liability of Rs 1,30,000 crore at the time of bifurcation of the state. In fact, an undivided loan liability of more than Rs 33,000 crore has been put in the books of accounts of Andhra Pradesh, affecting adversely state’s FRMB limits.
The Chief Minister, raising Polavaram, said that its revised estimate was Rs 58,319 crore and that the Centre should ensure continuous flow of funds to execute it in time. The other issues that he discussed included setting up of a cracker and petrochemical Complex by the GAIL-HPCL consortium at Kakinada, establishment of railway zone with headquarters at Visakhapatnam, increasing assembly sets from 175 to 225 which has been guaranteed by the bifurcation Act, and financial support for Amaravati. He reminded him that the state had received only Rs 2,500 crore so far.