Andhra will surge ahead in 10 years: Deo

Andhra will surge ahead in 10 years: Deo
Highlights

Andhra will surge ahead in 10 years: DEO. Union Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo was the first to raise the demand for Special Package for Seemandhra region, when most of the Seemandhra leaders were seen wrangling for Union Territory status for Hyderabad.

Union Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo was the first to raise the demand for Special Package for Seemandhra region, when most of the Seemandhra leaders were seen wrangling for Union Territory status for Hyderabad. With a fabulous package in place, he is confident that in a decade’s time Andhra Pradesh can develop into a frontline State. The State is endowed with mineral wealth and with Special Package in place, the State can build an infrastructure that will create employment like never before. Far from sulking, the mood should be one of forward-looking confidence, says Kishore Chandra Deo.

“Things, according to me, are moving in the right direction. In a decade’s time, people from all States, including Telangana, will be knocking at the doors of Andhra Pradesh for jobs and investment. Even for the people, who were enamoured by the City of Hyderabad and think that the division of the State is a step backward, I would say that this step backward would soon result in a great leap forward that would launch Andhra Pradesh into the most pioneering and frontline States of India,” Union Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs Minister

V Kishore Chandra Deo, in an exclusive interview to The Hans India, told Venkat Parsa.

Are you satisfied with the way the process of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is proceeding?

Things, according to me, are moving in the right direction. In a decade’s time, people from all States, including Telangana, will be knocking at the doors of Andhra Pradesh for jobs and investment. Even for the people, who were enamoured by the City of Hyderabad and think that the division of the State was a step backward, I would say that this step backward would soon result in a great leap forward that would launch Andhra Pradesh into the most pioneering and frontline States of India.
Are you satisfied with the Special Package announced by the Centre?
When there were all-round demands centered round making Hyderabad a Union Territory, I was the first to voice the demand for Special Package for Seemandhra. I was convinced that with the decision taken on the bifurcation of the State, focus should be turned on to the development of the region. I am more than satisfied that the Centre was pleased to concede almost all the demands I had made. What is more, it has, for the first time, been made part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. Normally package is never made part of the Act, it must be announced separately. The lesson we should learn is never to concentrate development in any one particular region but to go in for decentralised development. Special Category Status has been granted for a period of 5 years and tax incentives for a period of 10 years. The Special Category Status is unique, as it is granted only to States with International Borders like the North-Eastern States, besides States like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir. Perhaps it is time we shifted our focus on to a positive agenda. The importance of the Special Package is that once infrastructure is being created, it will open up vistas for employment generation.
Do you think focus should now be turned on to the Special Package?
We need to showcase to the people what they have got from the Centre, instead of breast-beating about the bifurcation. The Special Package gives to Seemandhra more than what it has missed by losing Hyderabad. These include upgrading existing three airports in Vijayawada, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam into International Airports, IIT, IIIT, IIM, NIIT, NID in Vijayawada, IISER, Central University, Agriculture University, Tribal University and Petroleum University. An AIIMS-type Super-Speciality Hospital-cum-Teaching Institution and National Disaster Management Institute have been announced. Polavaram Project has been declared a National Project, which would be funded and executed by the Centre. A major port at Duggirajupatnam is to be completed in phases, with the first phase set to be completed by 2018. I also wanted creation of a separate High Court, which has also been conceded. SAIL will examine in 6 months time a steel plant in Kadapa. Similarly, IOC or HPCL will consider within 6 months establishing Greenfield Crude Oil Refinery and Petroleum Complex. The Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor, on lines of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and Special Package for development of Backward Regions of Rayalaseema and North Coastal Andhra have been sanctioned.
You had also asked for a Railway Zone?
I would prefer creating a new Coromandel Railway Zone, comprising Guntur, Vijayawada, Guntakal and Visakhapatnam Railway Divisions. Metro Rail Projects will come up in Visakhapatnam and between
Vijayawada and Guntur.
You have been opposed to the concept of a common capital. Do you still hold that view?
I have all along consistently opposed to the common capital idea. At no point of time was such an idea had validity. At the stage of the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up further to the Union Cabinet decision on bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh taken on October 3, 2013, I opposed the idea of common capital. When it was a united State, it made sense to travel to Hyderabad. After the bifurcation, it does not make sense for a person, say from Srikakulam or Visakhapatnam, to travel nearly 1,000 km to Hyderabad. Besides, when the three States of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were created, there was no such concept of a common capital. All the three new States started operating from the new capitals.
What, then, is the way out?
There are two things to be done on an urgent basis. Once the Experts Committee identifies the new capital, we must move over to the place and develop it. Temporarily, we can operate Assembly and Secretariat from makeshift premises, till the necessary infrastructure is built. The other point is to spread development across the State, so as not to repeat the mistake made in the past, of concentrating the entire development in and around the State capital.
There is a talk of making Seemandhra another Singapore. Your comment?
Singapore is known as Entreport, or a Free Port. It is primarily a tourist destination and Shoppers Paradise. When import restrictions were in place in India, people from all over the world flocked to Singapore for shopping. As a result, tourist infrastructure, like hotels and shopping plazas, developed rapidly in Singapore. In fact, Singapore was never a manufacturing hub. It does not have resources and nothing much to rave about.
How is Seemandhra different?
Seemandhra is rich in mineral resources. Rayalaseema has uranium, manganese and iron ore. Seemandhra is endowed with all kinds of mineral resources. In this extension of the Eastern Ghats, there is a broken chain, which has several rivers. Vamshadhara, Nagavalli, Swarnamukhi, Gomukhi, Sharada, etc. Rivulets, mountain streams and natural springs have potential for tourism and even mini-hydel plants of 1-10 mw power. Mini-reservoirs can be built, instead of major dams, which are not viable in a hilly-terrain. These mini-reservoirs can be used for supply of drinking water and irrigation water, besides developing fisheries.
Can waterways, too, be developed?
Seemandhra has a vast coastline stretching up to 1,000 km, from Ichchapuram to the border of Tamil Nadu. Transport by ship could be cheaper than roadways or railways. Development of the new mode of transport can boost tourism.
There is confusion on whether the transfer of the villages in Polavaram submergence areas to Seemandhra would cause any problem about delimitation of constituencies?
There is absolutely no scope for confusion. Elections are being held as per the delimitation followed in 2009. The villages were transferred for purposes of facilitating smooth relief and rehabilitation.
New Parliament can always look into the issue and take such remedial steps as may be required.
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