HYDERABAD: In a disappointment to the two Telugu states -Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the Central government has made it clear that it is not feasible to set up steel plants at Bayyaram in Telangana and Kadapa in AP in the near future, though a promise was made to the two States during bifurcation.
The Central government told the Supreme Court that as per the feasibility report submitted by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), setting up of a steel plant at Bayyaram and Kadapa was found prima facie not financially viable. A task force had been constituted in Oct 2016 comprising representatives from the Central and state governments, SAIL, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Mecon Limited and MSTC to consider the feasibility issues and prepare a road map for setting up integrated steel plants in AP and Telangana by any interested parties, the Centre added.
In this regard, the Centre, represented by its under-secretary in the Ministry of Steel, filed a counter affidavit on the petition filed by Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy, Congress deputy leader in Telangana Legislative Council, seeking directions to the authorities concerned to take action on the representations made by him for implementation of the provisions of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. Citing the steps taken by it on the issues raised by the petitioner, the Centre sought dismissal of the petition by Ponguleti.
The Centre, in its counter affidavit, submitted that in terms of the 13th Schedule of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, SAIL was required to examine the feasibility of establishing an integrated steel plant in Khammam district in Telangana and Kadapa district in AP within six months from the appointed day i.e. June 2, 2014. SAIL had completed its task by submitting reports examining feasibility on installation of integrated steel plants on Dec 2, 2014.
As per the feasibility report, prima facie it was found not financially viable. Further, a task force was constituted and in the last meeting of the task force held in December last year, it was decided that the state governments concerned would share with MECON the data for preparation of feasibility reports and realistic assumptions to be worked out by the state governments concerned with MECON and that the latter would then submit a report on the issue.
In another affidavit filed by the income tax department, New Delhi, it claimed that the department had already taken appropriate steps post-reorganisation of the states by providing tax incentives to the notified backward areas, and, thus, have implemented the provisions of the Act 2014. For the purpose of implementation of the provisions,there had been certain tax incentives provided in the Income Tax Act, they added. The matter would come up for further hearing on July 2.
In March this year, Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy filed the petition seeking directions to the Central government to take action on the representations made by him for implementation of the Act. He complained that large number of the provisions enacted in the Act were not being implemented by the Union government and its departments/ministries, and as a result lakhs of people in both the states were facing hardship. Non-implementation of provisions/assurances made in the Act would reduce the confidence on Parliament among the people. He pointed out that the authorities concerned have not taken any effective steps to the representations made by him to the President, PM, Union ministers, AP & TS chief ministers.