JP s round table faults AP TS govts

Hyderabad: Coming down heavily on the development models chosen by the governments of two Telugu-speaking governments, Lok Satta founder Jayaprakash Narayan demanded that the Andhra Pradesh government make public the actual revenue deficit faced by the new State after bifurcation.

Speakers at the round-table meeting organised by Lok Satta on the issue of ‘Telugu States and Implementation of Centre’s Promises’, unanimously disapproved the Centre’s half-hearted approach towards fulfilling the assurances given to the two States, in view of and as part of the bifurcation of the undivided Andhra Pradesh.

Though initially JP referred to the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh, he said it essentially meant giving of special tax incentives and it was imperative to fight for these incentives. But the speakers insisted that they should not dilute the issue since special status to AP was a promise made by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of Rajya Sabha while passing the AP State Reorganisation Act and hence they should put pressure on the Centre to keep up its word. Finally, JP agreed with their views.

Lok Satta founder Jayaprakash Narayan addressing a round table conference on ‘Telugu States and Implementation of Centre’s Promises’ organised by the party in Hyderabad on Sunday

The round-table resolved to pressurise the Centre for according Special Status to AP, announcement of tax-incentives to set up industries in backward districts of the two States, expediting the completion of Polavaram project and immediate setting up of national level educational institutions in the residual Andhra Pradesh State.

Lok Satta has already given a call to students in all 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh to take out peace rallies without causing any public inconvenience in order to express their desire for according Special Category status to AP and the concomitant tax incentives.

Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) vice-president Sarampalli Mallareddy suggested that the round-table thrashed out the demands and represented to the Centre as the ‘Chief Ministers of the two States are not really interested.’ CPI leader and former MLC Cherupalli Sitaramulu faulted AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu for declaring that Polavaram would be completed in three years, citing the meagre allocation of Rs 100 crore to the project in the Union Budget 2015-16.Andhra Intellectuals Forum president Chalasani Srinivas said the cost of Polavaram project was pegged at Rs 16,000 crore in 2003, and the cost adjustment effected in 2011 had taken the project cost Rs 23,000 crore. It could go up to Rs 51,000 crore in future, he warmed.

While many speakers stressed the speedy completion of Polavaram, CIFA (Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations) president Peddireddy Chengal Reddy suggested that a mechanism should be worked out to obtain funds for all major irrigation projects from the Centre. Former chief engineer Dharma Rao suggested an alternative design for Polavaram as the current design leads to large-scale displacement of tribal hamlets. However, JP and other panel members said it was a closed issue, as the Centre had already accorded National Project status to it.

Advocate Satyanarayana Murthi said the State governments could approach the High Court for relief under Article 226, if the assurances given in the AP Reorganisation Act were not fulfilled by the Centre. Telangana Lok Satta president Bandaru Rammohan Rao appealed for including Pranahitha-Chevella project as a National Project. President of Vijayawada Bar Association, Srinivas, said AP advocates were demanding bifurcation of the High Court, but that shall not be done without first announcing the location for High Court in the new Andhra Pradesh.

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