Will storm HMDA office over ORR contract: Revanth
Deccan Chronicle.| G. Ram Mohan
TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy wondered how a project can benefit the Infrastructure Developers Limited (IRB), but does not do enough to protect the rights of the people of Hyderabad and Telangana. (Image: Deepak Deshpande)
Hyderabad: "If the information we have sought from the BRS state government on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) is not given soon, we will storm the HMDA office. Why is the government trying to help the IRB corporation, after gifting them a contract for a mere 7,388 crore for a project that is easily worth more than 1 lakh crore?" TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy questioned.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday here, he wondered how a project can benefit the Infrastructure Developers Limited (IRB), but does not do enough to protect the rights of the people of Hyderabad and Telangana.
Delving into the likely issues that arise from the deal, Revanth Reddy said, "IRB sold 49 per cent of its stake to a Singapore entity. The visit of K. T. Rama Rao to UK in the name of seeking investments should be seen in this backdrop. Where are Teja Raju and Rajesh Raju, the business associates of KTR, during this visit? Deals are being signed behind scenes. Where is a guarantee that this Singapore company will not sell its stake later to a Chinese company? We should not meet the fate of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where China has stranglehold on us."
He alleged lands around ORR are worth 15 crore per acre, and even "assuming a minimum of just 10 crore per acre", the 6,500 acres around the ORR are worth at least 65,000 crore. The discretion to give entry and exit points to the real estate ventures on the ORR itself would fetch hundreds of crores to the IRB Infrastructure.
"What is the hurry for this government to rush into this deal when all they have is another three months before the state gets into poll mode? I am alleging the deal has been done to benefit Rama Rao to the tune of at least 100 crore per year. New shell companies have been floated to benefit the family," he alleged.
Responding to queries from the media that the decision to give ORR was a collective decision of the state Cabinet, he said, "The Cabinet only gave approval to the policy decision to adopt the TOT (toll, operate, transfer) model. The bidding was called without setting a base price. It’s normal to give tenders to the lowest bidder and property sold to the highest bidder for which a minimum rate or base price is decided."
"The deal is also problematic and contrary to the advice of the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) to restrict any lease period of TOT to a maximum of 20 years. This as the master plan of the HMDA ends in 2031. The deal to make it a 30-year one is, hence, violative of this provision," he said, slamming the BRS for making an issue over the sale of Visakha steel "given its track record".
"When I went to meet the Principal Secretary of HMDA Arvind Kumar recently, I was stopped from going there. Can I not meet the official whose work falls in my Parliamentary constituency? I need to meet him to take up various development works. If IRB is incapable of paying even 10 per cent, then the report by Mazars Advisory LLP the transaction advisor should be probed into," Revanth said.
"The state government officials will have to respond to my complaints to the Central Vigilance Commission, Department of Personnel and Training and the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India). We will take them to court and make them answerable and fix responsibility," he said.
Revanth Reddy alleged that ORR, which is the wealth of Telangana people, was handed over to IRB company from Mumbai under the supervision of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, MA&UD minister K.T. Rama Rao, Principal Secretary of municipal department Arvind Kumar and special advisor to the Chief Minister, C.S. Somesh Kumar.
"Why is BJP leader Kishan Reddy not writing to the Centre on this after raising questions in a press meet? Why is Bandi Sanjay silent on this issue? It is in this context we say that the BJP and BRS are the same," the Congress leader said.
"Why is minister K. T. Rama Rao not speaking on this issue? What is the compulsion to give a contract for 30 years to IRB Infrastructure Developers for 7,380 crore, when banks would be willing to give at least 15,000 crore, which is 70 per cent of toll charges that ORR would gather at 730 crore per year? If increase in traffic over the years is taken into account, would not the income rise further?" Revanth asked.