The state government on Saturday cancelled the allotment of 8,848 acres of land to the proposed Lepakshi Knowledge Hub (LKH) in Anantapur district, a project that was announced during the chief ministership of late YS Rajasekhara Reddy, due to violation of the Memorandum of Agreement.
The agreement with the Lepakshi Knowledge Hub Private Limited (LKHPL) was entered in February 2009 and land was given in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gorantla and Chilamattur mandals of the district. Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Saturday directed the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) to start the process of reclaiming the land.
The YSR government had allotted the vast extent of land to LKH even before the creation of basic infrastructure by the developer. When the project was announced, people in this drought-prone district had hoped that LKH would provide them jobs. But LKH did not establish a single industry, and instead mortgaged around 4,400 acres of the land to get bank loans to the tune of Rs 790 crore.
LKH also figures in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the alleged disproportionate assets case involving jailed Kadapa MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. It is alleged that there was a quid-pro-quo in the allotment of land to LKH. In fact, earlier, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) too had indicted the state government for the land allotment without first safeguarding the interests of the state.
LKH had claimed that they were a leading infrastructure provider and were expanding their market presence in order to become globally recognised. The LKH had proposed a ‘one-stop hub’ for education, research and industries to work together. It was supposed to establish integrated institutional and economic ecosystem development systems with innovative new age concepts and was one of the few proposed clusters in the country with extensive focus on knowledge creation and transfer.
The clusters proposed in the LKH were Lepakshi Aerospace Cluster and Defence, Education and Innovation Hub, Logistics and Free Trade Warehousing Zone, Agro Food Science and Technology Park, Lepakshi Heritage Wellness Village, Health and Wellness Cluster, Media and Entertainment City and Global Village.
LKH had also announced earlier that it was looking for collaboration with UK-based companies to develop aircraft testing and training facilities along with a 3.4-km long runway to support the upcoming aerospace industry in the park. But, all these plans remained on paper only.