HYDERABAD: A day after Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had attacked the Centre for not making proper allocations to the state in the Union budget, Union minister for urban development M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday rejected the charge that the state got a raw deal.
Unequivocally rejecting the argument of the chief minister, Venkaiah said, “We should add the allocations made to AP in the 14th Finance Commission’s report as well as the allocations in the Union budget. Then, we will get a complete picture of what the Centre is giving to AP in the next five years.”
According to Venkaiah, as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, AP would get a total amount of Rs 2,06,819 crore from the Centre as a result of enhanced devolution during the next five years. This comes to Rs 41,364 crore per year. Hitting back at chief Minister’s claim that the Centre did not allocate a single rupee for construction of the new capital, Venkaiah questioned, “Land procurement for the new capital city has not been completed. Even the master plan is not ready yet. Hence, the Centre has not allocated funds for the capital in the budget. What is wrong in it?”
Addressing mediapersons here on Sunday, Venkaiah Naidu suggested that the chief ministers of AP and Telangana fix a meeting with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley to seek more funds for their respective states from the Centre.
“Instead of airing his grievance publicly, Chandrababu Naidu should meet the Union finance minister and tell him what the state’s expectations are and what it has actually got in the budget,” Venkaiah said.
“I had a telephonic talk with Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday evening. I asked him not to air his grievances publicly. I have even advised KCR the same when he said the TS had not got enough funds under the Integrated Child Development Scheme,” he added.
While admitting that the Rs 100 crore allotted for the Polavaram irrigation project in the budget was meagre, Venkaiah said, “Yes, it is a matter of concern to me also. But, the project could have got higher allocation if the detailed project report was prepared and submitted to the Centre.”
Stating that the Polavaram project has been pending since he was an MLA in 1978, Naidu said, “Who was to blame for it? Were it not the Congress governments in the intervening period?”
When asked why the central government failed to accord special-category status to AP, as assured in the Reorganisation Act, to compensate the loss of revenue after bifurcation, the Union minister said the question of special status was still open as the Centre had not yet taken any decision on it.
Even Gift of the Gab
Couldn’t Rescue Him
Venkaiah Naidu was at the receiving end at a news conference here on Sunday here with mediapersons shooting him questions on why the Centre failed to accord special category status to AP as promised on the floor of the Rajya Sabha. When mediapersons started grilling him on the promises made by his government to the people of AP, a visibly upset Naidu struggled to explain his government’s decision on the poor budget allocations made to AP. When the situation was going out of hand, TS BJP chief G Kishan Reddy intervened and announced that Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya would address the press.