VIJAYAWADA: Days after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a list of demands for the State, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday met Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi and presented his wish list to him. During their 40-minute discussion, the leaders spoke about the State government’s plan to set up three capitals, and the move to abolish the Legislative Council, among other things.
After telling Shah that the Council had lost its utility and was being used for ulterior motives, Jagan requested him to direct the Law Ministry to take necessary steps towards abolishing the House.
Reminding the Home Minister about the provisions made to the State in the AP State Reorganisation Act, the Chief Minister asked the Centre to fulfil them. He also sought financial help for completion of projects such as the Kadapa Steel Plant, Visakhapatnam-Chennai corridor, Ramayapatnam port and the Kakinada Petroleum Complex.
With regard to Central-sponsored schemes and grants, Jagan pointed out that the State has received only Rs 10,610 crore in the current fiscal, which is only half the funds that were released to the State in a year during the previous government’s term. He requested for clearance of the pending grants to Andhra Pradesh. Sources said Jagan has also sought appointments with other mnisters, and will meet them on Saturday.
The CM told Shah that most of the police department’s infrastructure remained in Hyderabad after the bifurcation of the State, hampering the effective functioning of the department. Lack of funds and shortage of staff are some of the hurdles being faced, and there is an urgent need to address them to strengthen the police force, he said.
Jagan explained that the Centre had allotted State Forensic Lab in 2017 with a total budget of Rs 253.4 crore, of which Rs 152 crore is the Central share. The project was put aside due to the negligence of the previous government, he said, and asked Shah to reconsider it.
He also sought the Centre’s assistance in setting up a State operation command, control centre, centralised data centre, and AP police academy. Enhancement of the State cadre strength from 79 to 96 was also requested.
Apprising Shah on the objective of introducing the Disha Act, he requested him to direct the Home Ministry to approve the Act to provide protection to the women in the State. Across Andhra Pradesh, 18 Disha police stations have been set up with special teams, and fast-track courts to try these cases are also being set up, he explained.
As for the Polavaram project, he said the State is determined to complete it by 2021, and sought assistance for the rehabilitation package for all the families to be evacuated as per the schedule. He said that the total estimated cost of the project turned out to be Rs 55,549 crore and Rs 33,010 crore was needed as part of the R&R package.
He recalled that the Central water Resources Ministry has estimated the cost of Polavaram Project to be Rs 55,549 crore in February 2019.The administrative sanction for the same is yet to be accorded, he said and requested the Home Minister to intervene and address the issue.
Jagan has also requested reimbursement of Rs 3,320 crore, the balance of the amount spent by the State on the project so far.He brought to the notice of Shah that the State has received only Rs 1,050 crore for backward districts development to date and the funds for the last three years were not released.
While Rs 4,000 was given per head on an average in the special package for Bundelkhand district in Uttarpradesh and Kalahandi district in Orissa, the seven backward districts in AP only got Rs 400 per head. He requested for allocation of funds on par with Bundelkhand and Kalahandi regions.
He said as per CAG report in 2014, Andhra Pradesh’s revenue deficit was Rs 22,948.76 crore, but to date, the state was reimbursed only Rs 3,979.50 crore and the balance Rs 18,969.26 crore is yet to be released.
The chief minister requested the immediate clearance of the pending dues.
As regards to the allocation of Rs 2,500 crore for construction of the State capital, he reminded that only Rs 1,000 crore was released by the Centre. He sought the release of the pending funds for the purpose.
Sources said Chief Minister has also sought an appointment with other ministers and would be meeting them on Saturday for discussing the release of funds to the state from respective departments, before returning to the State.
CM explains plan for decentralised administration
Speaking to the Home Minister, Jagan explained at length the need for decentral-isation of administration (three capitals) and development in the State, while asserting that his government is committed to balanced development of the entire State without neglecting any region
Asks to start process of shifting High Court
Jagan requested Shah to initiate steps for relocating the High Court to Kurnool and said a High Court in Rayalaseema on a permanent basis was also part of the BJP’s election manifesto. He also briefed the Home Minister on the move to abolish the Legislative Council
‘Special status needed to overcome financial constraints’
The Chief Minister told Shah that Andhra Pradesh needs special status to overcome financial constraints, and pointed out that the approval of the Finance Commission was not needed for this. He also recalled that the 15th Finance Commission had made it clear that granting special status to the State was in the purview of the Central government