Amid frosty relations between the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the BJP over the Centre apparently not heeding Andhra Pradesh’s requests, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday and discuss the state’s demands, among other issues.
Naidu wants special funds promised under the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, after bifurcation of the state to bridge the revenue deficit in the new state; funds for the Polavaram project, which was declared a national project by the NDA government, as well as a change in the project’s contractor; and additional funds for construction of the new state capital – Amaravati.
Naidu is said to be unhappy about the Centre not responding positively to his demands, resulting in icy relations between the BJP and TDP for the last one year or so. The TDP is part of the BJP-led NDA.
Naidu met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in November 2017 and sought quicker release of funds for Polavaram, whose estimated cost has escalated to
Rs 58,300 crore from Rs 16,100 crore in 2010. Naidu also wants the main contractor — Transtroy, owned by TDP MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao — to be changed to hasten up work on the Polavaram project.
While Union minister Nitin Gadkari has advised against a change in contractor, contending that the project cost will escalate further, Naidu is adamant, as he wants the project to be completed by 2019. Transtroy, Naidu feels, has fallen behind schedule.
Another demand, according to Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu is the implementation of 90:10 funding (90 per cent funding by Centre and 10 per cent by the state government) for projects under the special package, announced by Jaitley in lieu of Special Category status for the state. “90:10 is our main demand. Also, we are facing a revenue deficit of Rs 4,598 crore in 2016-17, and a similar amount in 2017-18,” Ramakrishnudu said.
Naidu is also likely to ask for a separate railway zone at Visakhapatnam, and delimitation of Assembly constituencies.