Bayyaram steel plant remains an ‘issue’ for Munugode election

TRS govt planned to set up plant on its own but dropped the idea

Update: 2022-10-03 18:26 GMT
Union minister G. Kishan Reddy. (DC Image)

Khammam: The proposed setting up of a steel plant in Bayyaram remains a mirage for many years. Political parties who raised the heat over this now and then are however not keen on taking the matter forward other than using it as a stick to beat their rivals with, during election time.

The issue came to fore again with the statement of Union tourism minister G Kishan Reddy that the Centre has no plan to set up a steel plant in Bayyaram, as “it would not be beneficial to anyone.”

“Only losses would occur if a steel factory is set up there,” he said.

The TRS, which was waiting for a chance now, made it an issue for the Munugode by-election campaign.

Transport minister P Ajay Kumar, women and child welfare minister Satyavathi Rathod, TRS floor leader in Lok Sabha Nama Nageswara Rao and Rajya Sabha MP V Ravinchandra lambasted the NDA government over the statement that Kishan Reddy has made.

The demand for the Bayyaram steel plant had begun 30 years back and political parties used to refer to the issue before every election in the region.

The issue turned serious in the united Andhra Pradesh when YS Rajasekhar Reddy was chief minister. There were allegations that the iron ore that was available in the Bayyaram area was mined and sold to private companies by his son in-law Anil Kumar. Rival parties alleged that Anil mined the iron ore by taking lease of the mines in the name of tribals.

The TRS and left parties blamed the YSR government on this matter and demanded that the UPA government set up a steel plant and provide employment to the people of Telangana. However, the issue again took the back seat after the death of YSR.

The issue came to the fore again during the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Political parties demanded that the UPA government promise the setting up of the steel plant in Bayyaram. The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre promised that it would consider the matter.

In 2014, after the Telangana state was formed, the UPA lost power, the BJP formed government at the Centre and the TRS won power in Telangana.

Setting up of the Bayyaram steel plant has been a prime demand of the TRS and the party made appeals to the NDA government to set it up. The central government did not respond to the call. The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) too did not show any interest for a steel factory at Bayyaram as the iron ore available there, it ruled, did not have quality.

A chastened TRS government considered the setting up the plant on its own in 2018. It explored various options including the roping in of the Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) to start the steel plant.

Experts too felt that the quality of iron ore there was of low quality. The state government later dropped its plan to start the steel plant on its own and said it would instead wait for the Centre to do this as such a promise had been made by Delhi while passing the AP Reorganisation Act. However, clearly, the BJP government is not serious about the promise made by the UPA government in 2014.

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