Union Cabinet would soon approve the special financial package announced last month for Andhra Pradesh, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Y S Chowdary said Tuesday. “The Centre will be giving the Cabinet approval as a guarantee soon. The TDP (ruling party in Andhra Pradesh) will always push for the best interests of the State, and Telugu people,” he told PTI in an interview.
He was asked whether the TDP is pushing for getting legislative guarantee or legal status to the package announced by the Centre. The financial package announced by the Centre on September 7 includes full funding of Polavaram irrigation project, tax concessions and a special assistance.
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Leaders of the ruling TDP have said they will make efforts to get some sort of a guarantee from the Centre for the implementation of the package, which was announced as a substitute for the special category status (SCS) promised to AP by the previous UPA government following the bifurcation of undivided AP. The SCS, promised to Seemandhra (new Andhra Pradesh) on the floor of parliament by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has become an emotional issue in the state with the opposition parties in particular forcefully demanding that the NDA government keep up the promise.
YSR Congress president and opposition leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy held a meeting in Kurnool district to voice the demand for SCS. Actor-turned-politician and Janasena party founder Pawan Kalyan had also been pushing the case for SCS. Top BJP leaders, including Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu, who are now in government, had also demanded according SCS to Andhra Pradesh during the previous UPA regime.
The Centre would “100 per cent” announce a special railway zone at Visakhapatnam “soon”, Chowdary, a representative of TDP in the NDA government, said. “Yes, 100 per cent. We will have a railway zone in Visakhapatnam soon. Our leader N Chandrababu Naidu has emphasised enough times and we have no doubt.
With the Railway Minister (Suresh Prabhu) being an MP (Rajya Sabha member) from Andhra Pradesh, we need have no worries. In fact, Suresh Prabhuji has already announced several projects for AP with the belief of our NDA government that Railways can and should become the backbone for economic development,” he said. Chowdary is a key interlocutor with the top NDA leaders on behalf of the TDP in realising the benefits promised to Andhra Pradesh. The NDA government would continue to support AP in various spheres like infrastructure development and industrial promotion till it becomes a leading state again, he said.
“The Centre is constantly creating and modifying policies and creating a mood conducive for industrial investment and growth. The state too is taking initiatives for rapid development, creation of jobs, infrastructure building and enhancing ease of doing business. As an ally and partner, we have a friendly ear in the Centre, and they will readily support and continue doing so till AP becomes a leading state again,” he said. Noting that the special package announced by the Centre “far exceeds” SCS, Chowdary hit out at Opposition parties for “spreading lies and misinformation.”
“Opposition parties have a single-line job description today – criticise the government; including when it is doing good work, and for justifying that they spread lies and misinformation. They must know that they will remain in opposition for many terms – be it at the Centre or in state of Andhra Pradesh. We have already elaborated in a series of public and media interactions that nomenclature aside, the Special Package offered by the Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for AP far exceeds the possible benefits that would have come from Special Category Status. Consider Polavaram, which is Independent India’s first 100 per cent Centrally-funded State irrigation cum drinking water and power projects – which is greater than the 90 pc promised in Parliament by the-then Congress government,” he said.
Andhra Pradesh, under the leadership of a visionary Chief Minister like N Chandrababu Naidu, would become a frontline state in terms of development in a decade, he said. “People are looking forward to the benefits to reach them and our State, led by a visionary leader like N Chandrababu Naidu, will achieve foremost status in the country within a decade,” Chowdary said.