HYDERABAD: In a setback to the infrastructure sector in Andhra Pradesh, the state government recently diverted Rs 1,000 crore meant for development of ports and airports to meet welfare sops.
The amount included about Rs 650 crore paid by Adani group for the 10 per cent equity the government divested in favour of the corporate giant in Gangavaram deep water port.
Official sources told this newspaper that the fund came in handy for the government to implement the second phase of one of its poll promises of ‘YSR Aasara’. Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy released Rs 6,470 crore towards waiver of loans availed by women belonging to self-help groups on October 7.
The government, while defending the divestment in Gangavaram port, maintained that the amount raised through the sale of equity would be utilised for developing infrastructure in the form of building new ports and airports besides upgrading the existing ones.
The infrastructure wing also accrued about Rs 300 crore through its annual share in the revenue of existing ports of Kakinada, Krishnapatnam and Gangavaram.
The officials were said to have proposed to make the best use of the fund to meet its equity requirement in the proposed Ramayapatnam and Machilipatnam ports.
“Following the decision of the Chief Minister that the government should build ports and privatise the operations, we need huge amounts for the two ports,” sources said adding that the lenders were shown the Rs 1,000 crore fund as the financial strength of the government agencies to meet the equity requirements in the project financing.
The government called for tenders for Ramayapatnam port long ago and awarded the project to the joint venture of Aurobindo Realty and Navayuga group. The government has been extending the last date for Machilipatnam port works while another port in Bhavanapadu is yet to be tendered. The Chief Minister himself referred to achieve rapid development using the long coastline in the state.
When contacted, Karikal Valaven, special chief secretary, I&I, said the transfer of the amount was a routine temporary adjustment. “We get back the amount whenever we require for the projects,” he added....