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‘Thousands of acres given away in Andhra’

CAG report covers major allotments made under YSR regime; some part of CBI Jagan probe.

Written by SRINIVAS JANYALA | Hyderabad | Published: March 30, 2012 11:37:10 pm

Hotels and fuel stations came up on land allotted for hospitals meant for poor; land for IT and knowledge park was mortagaged for hundreds of crores of bank loans; and businessmen built plush offices on land allotted for other purposes. CAG report on land allotments in Andhra Pradesh between 2006-11 reveals major irregularities,with over a thousand beneficiaries cornering thousands of acres of land without being answerable to anyone on how they used it.

These include 24 major land allotments between 2006 and 2011,especially those under the rule of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (2004-09). Among the beneficiaries were Brahmani Industries Ltd and Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC),which are accused of investing in the businesses of YSR’s son Jaganmohan Reddy in lieu of land allotments. The CBI is already investigating this as part of the probe into the quantum jump in Jaganmohan’s riches.

“Allotment of land by the state government during 2006-11 was characterised by grave irregularities,involving allotment in an ad hoc,arbitrary and discretionary manner to private persons/entities at very low rates,without safeguarding the financial and socio-economic interests of the state,” says the CAG report. It also raises questions about allotments made by Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) and the allotments for SEZs.

During 2006-11,the Andhra government allotted 88,492 acres to 1,027 beneficiaries. In the 11 sampled districts,459 allotments CAG report reveals thousands of acres given away in Andhra at cost of state

were made,involving 50,285.90 acres of land. Out of these,409 cases were scrutinised in audit,revealing irregularities. Among these:

n 3,115.64 acres were allotted in Jammalamadugu Mandal,YSR Kadapa district,to Brahmani Industries Ltd for setting up an airport and flying academy. Not only was the viability of the project not determined,this overlooked a government policy of not setting up two airports too close to each other — the Kadapa airport is just 50 km away.

n Brahmani Industries Ltd was also allotted 10,760.66 acres in the same mandal in YSR Kadapa district to establish a greenfield steel plant. The land included 674.58 acres of water bodies and meant allocation of 2 TMC of water from the Gandikota reservoir,which was allowed without environmental clearance. As of November 2011,even the first phase of construction had not been completed.

n The request of OMC,which had unauthorisedly occupied government land,for grant of lease of 413.81 acres was turned down by the Anantapur collector in August 2008. However,within a month,the Collector,at the request of APIIC,recommended allotment of 304.66 acres of land to APIIC (for transfer to OMC) for establishment of an industrial park. The reasons were not recorded.

n Ten private hospitals in Vizag took hundreds of acres from government promising to set up hospitals for the poor but mortagaged the land for loans. Construction of a hotel has started at one place,while fuel stations have come up at other sites.

n APIIC executed a sale deed for 8,844.01 acres in Anantapur district in favour of Lepakshi Knowledge Hub Ltd (LKH),even before creation of infrastructure by it. LKH did not establish any industry nor create any employment but mortgaged 4,397 acres of allotted land to obtain loans of Rs 790 crore from banks.

n Other irregularities pointed out by CAG involve deals with Vanpic ports,Raheja IT Park and Emaar Properties. The report says APIIC entered into an arrangement with Raheja Park Pvt Ltd,the terms of which enabled the latter to sell/ mortgage the land apart from exposing the government to financial risk.

n 250 acres were allotted to Georgia Institute of Technology on the orders of then chief minister (YSR) at Rs 1.50 lakh per acre against the prevailing market value of Rs 18 lakh per acre. The institute is yet to pay the cost of the land.

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