VIJAYAWADA: Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu's hopes of enticing the Centre to generously fund his pet project of Amaravati are likely to be dashed.
New Delhi has made it clear to him that it would be advancing only Rs 1,500 crore more for the capital project since it has already released Rs. 1,000 crore.
Chandrbabu Naidu originally wanted Rs. 2 lakh crore from the Centre for construction of Amaravati. He now has to be content with just Rs. 2,500 crore.
The Centre's tight-fisted attitude may have spoilt the day for the chief minister who landed in Delhi early today after wooing investors in China over five days to plough their money into Amaravati but it did not show on his face when he interacted with mediapersons in Vijayawada later in the evening.
"I am trying to get as much as I can. But the Centre has said it would not be bale to give me more than Rs. 2,500 crore," he said.
In fact, when Chandrababu Naidu called on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on Friday morning, he is understood to have been told that the Centre cannot fund his ambitious Amaravati project in its entirety.
Quoting the AP Reogranisation Act, 2014, the finance minister is reported to have told Chandrababu Naidu that the Centre is obliged to fund only the government buildings to be built in the seed capital and nothing more.
Since it has already released Rs 1,000 crore, the balance that has to be transferred to AP for Amaravati would be only Rs. 1,500 crore.
"This would not be sufficient even to lay underground power cables in the capital city," Chandrababu Naidu said wryly.
He did try to bargain for at least RS. 5,000 crore but his efforts reportedly did not cut any ice with Jaitley.
The chief minister said he called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and emphasised the need for implementing the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act.
"As the Union Home Ministry is the nodal agency for implementation of the Act, I brought to the minister's notice the issues that are left unresolved," he said.
Asked about his stand on the ongoing agitation in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for the division of the High Court, Chandrababu Naidu said he is not for a confrontation with the Telangana government on this issue or any other for that matter.
"I am seeking an amicable solution. We have left everything and came to AP. So you may ask why not leave the court as well? It is not that simple. We want justice to prevail. We want the Act to be implemented. Further, the issue is not in the hands of the Central Government, but it is with the Supreme Court," Naidu said.
On Telangana government claiming a right over the AP Bhavan, stating that it was given in lieu of Hyderabad House, once the Nizam's property, the chief minister said it was not right and said it was with his effort that fetched seven acres as compensation when Hyderabad House taken over by the central government.
When asked if he is going to take the initiative for a dialogue with the Telangana government, Naidu said he had already made such an attempt four times in the past on different issues. "What sort of message will it send if we make the attempt ourselves every time," he asked.