VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and claimed to have received an assurance that commitments made to Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation would be fulfilled. But the chief minister pressed for a categorical announcement on the issue of special category status in Parliament before its current session ends.
Chandrababu Naidu called a press conference after the meeting and rendered a report of the meeting: “When I explained how important special category status is for Andhra Pradesh and also the 13 commitments that were made to AP in the Reorganisation Act, 2014, the Prime Minister said he would fulfil all promises both in letter and spirit. He agreed that the BJP and TDP made promises to the electorate in the run-up to the last general election and that it was the responsibility of both parties to keep them. The Prime Minister said he was serious about the need to help the state.”
Naidu said he urged the Prime Minister to take a decision early and explain to the people how he was going to help the state. “I told the Prime Minister that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill would not have passed had the promise of special category status not been made to the residuary state in the Rajya Sabha in February 2014. Now let the Prime Minister convince the people that he is going to do something for the state,” Naidu said.
The chief minister proceeded to lay out the state’s pet piques with the Centre. Indeed seven mandals in Khammam district were transferred under pressure from the TDP to AP to facilitate construction of the Polavaram project but no finances have flown to the project although it was given national project status. “When I raised the issue, the Prime Minister told me that the entire cost of the project would be borrowed from NABARD. The Centre would repay 90 per cent of the loan and the remainder by the state,” the chief minister said and pointed out that he has promised the people of the state that the first phase of the project would be completed before 2018-19.
“Since it is a national project, it is the duty of the Centre to get all clearances for the project but the tragedy is that it is AP that is making the rounds of offices in Delhi for clearances,” Chandrababu said.