Vijayawada: Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu seems to be on a foundation-laying spree with Assembly and Lok Sabha polls fast approaching and just two months left for his term to end.
In the past few months, he has laid the foundation for three big-ticket mega projects, like a steel plant at Kadapa, non-major port at Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district and paper mill in the same district. He also launched works on another port at Machilipatnam.
All these foundation-laying ceremonies were a grand affair with much publicity. Political analysts say since it is impossible to complete these projects and gain political mileage, the foundations are being laid just before polls and before the poll schedule – which brings in the election code and bars such activities – is announced.
Mr Naidu laid the foundation stone for a three million MT capacity steel plant at Kadapa, to develop it in PPP mode without the Centre’s support in the last week of December.
This comes after the Centre delayed in preparing a fresh feasibility report, as another such report prepared in the past pointed at non-feasibility of the project.
Similarly, since the Centre found that it was not feasible to develop a port at Dugarajapatnam, which was also assured in the AP Reorganisation Act, the state government decided to develop the port in PPP mode at Ramayapatnam, Prakasam district, for which the foundation stone was laid in the first week of January.
Mr Naidu also laid a foundation stone near Ramayapatnam for a paper-making unit by the Indonesia-based Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the largest conglomerates in Indonesia, spanning across banking, infrastructure, agri-business communications, cooking oil, palm oil, real estate and telecommunications.
The Indonesia-based company will set up a plant to manufacture 3 to 5 million tonnes of paper by investing close to `25,000 crore.
Though Machilipatnam port was first envisaged in 2008-09, there has been no progress on the ground since owing to stiff resistance from locals over land acquisition and funds crunch. To overcome funds crunch, the government had given a go-ahead to Machilipatnam Urban Development Authority (MUDA) to raise money through a loan from financial institutions.
Mr Naidu will launch works on the Machilipatnam port at the fag end of this term.
“It’s not appropriate that these foundations are laid keeping an eye on polls,” a Telugu Desam leader said.
“The state government waited all these years for a positive response from the Centre vis-a-vis Kadapa Steel Plant and Ramayapatnam port, and now laid the foundation. In the case of Machilipatnam port, procedures delayed revival of the project that the earlier government had put on the backburner,” he said....