With the Centre refusing to sanction the steel plant in Kadapa as they found the project to be ‘financially unviable’, the TDP has reacted strongly, calling it an act of ‘vendetta’.
The TDP has also slammed the Opposition parties for not protesting against the injustice.
The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the steel plant in Bayaram, Telangana and Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh was not feasible, as the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) found the project to be financially unviable.
Infuriated by the Centre’s denial, despite its earlier promises of finding a solution, TDP MP CM Ramesh, has announced a fast-unto-death if the steel plant wasn’t set up as promised during the bifurcation of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi, the Kadapa MP said that he has sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17 or 18, with a representation to reconsider their decision. He has threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike by the end of the month, along with students, employees’ union and opposition parties, if the PM doesn’t set up the plant in Kadapa.
Ramesh further alleged that the Centre is deliberately stalling all the projects, which would be beneficial for the state, since CM Chandrababu Naidu will get credit for them.
He further said that the state has made all arrangements like providing iron ore, water and equity to make the project feasible.
Expressing shock over the Centre’s denial to sanction the steel plant project, Agriculture Minister, Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy said that it is evident that the BJP is holding a grudge against them.
He told TNM, “We met the Steel Minister, Chaudary Birender Singh, in Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s chamber on December 21. Initially, they expressed apprehensions over the project, then we convinced them that there is a market for steel. We even agreed to invest Rs 200 crore in equity shares and also allot mineral wealth, provide land, water, bear the cost of extended railway line by 50%. After agreeing with all the terms and responding positively, they have suddenly denied the steel plant, which is shocking.”
“We expected that after the Special Category Status was denied, we would at least get the steel plant. The Centre has denied special railway zone in Vizag, construction of alternative port in Dugarajapatnam and refused any special assistance. Isn’t it clear that the Centre is discriminating against Andhra?” Reddy said.
He further attacked the Opposition leader, YS Jagan Mohanreddy, for not protesting against the Centre led BJP for denying steel plant. “Besides attacking the CM all the time, he should also speak against the BJP for the state’s interest. In other states like Tamil Nadu, when such injustice happens, all the parties fight unitedly,” he said.
Under the 13th schedule of AP Reorganization Act, a steel plant was promised to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. However, since the beginning, the Centre had been stating that the project is not feasible.
In 2014, after the states were bifurcated, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) had said that setting up of a plant is prima facie not financially viable. As the Andhra government raised objection over it, a task force comprising SAIL, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and two other companies was formed in 2016, which conducted a study on the feasibility of the project.
However, as there were still apprehensions over the project, a delegation of TDP MPs and MLAs met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and the Union Minister, Chaudary Birender Singh in December last year. After the meeting, the Andhra ministers were certain that the steel plant will become a reality as the preliminary report by the task force was ‘positive'. However, much to their dismay, in the final report submitted by SAIL, it retained its earlier position that the project was financially unviable.