YSR Congress President Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday said that the grant of special status to Andhra Pradesh is the only way to ensure its development and called for a concerted fight to mount pressure on the Centre to get the tag for the state.
Addressing a large number of students and youngsters gathered in Kakinada as part of "Yuva Bheri" (youth conclave), he accused Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu of trying to push the matter to the back-burner and even going to the extent of calling it "unnecessary".
"We have to join hands and fight for our right as it is only through special status that we get more employment opportunities and economic activity which will lead to increase in standard of living and quality of life. Uttarakhand, after getting special status, has got more than 2,000 industrial units with inflow of over Rs 30,000 crore investments and there was an increase of 490 per cent in employment opportunities," the Leader of Opposition said.
"The beneficiaries of special status will be the youth and students, who will be looking forward for jobs as promise was made to compensate the loss we incurred by losing Hyderabad (to Telangana) after division of the State (in 2014)," the MLA from Pulivendula in Kadapa district said.
All that is needed (for special status) is a signature by the Prime Minister and the will of the state government to pursue the matter, Jagan said.
"The special status issue was incorporated in the manifesto of the ruling TDP-BJP combine. If special status is accorded, the state will get 90 per cent of the funding in form of grants, which need not be repaid, besides exemptions and tax holidays which encourage big industrial houses to set up their business units in the state which in turn will create more jobs. There is a lot of talk on special package (for AP), but it is no match to special status," he said.
Instead of going to Singapore and Malaysia (to seek investments), it will be better if Naidu goes to the Prime Minister's Office and insists on special status for the State, Jagan maintained.