VIJAYAWADA: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has advised the Andhra Pradesh government to be mindful of the fact that its decisions like cancelling agreements, which have international funding, would have serious implications on the country’s investment prospects. She noted that if any issue comes up, for any reason, in the international agreements, it would be difficult to complete those projects.
Addressing the third virtual rally ‘Andhra Jan Samvad’ organised by the BJP AP unit from New Delhi on Friday, the Union minister said, “If we come into power after promising the people that cases would be filed against those involved in corruption and irregularities, we should do it and it is important. But, when we get international agencies financing our projects, and the Centre also supported in getting the funding, say from World Bank or Asian Development Bank, it would be very difficult to complete those big projects if an issue comes up. There may be reasons (for the State), but if they are cancelled, there will be problems for India’s international projects. The State government should be mindful of this.”
While the Union minister did not make any specific remarks regarding the ‘big projects’ she was referring to, it may be recalled that the YSRC government, soon after forming the government, had decided not to go ahead with Amaravati project, which was to be financed jointly by the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Subsequently, the government also announced that it would review and renegotiate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs), including the one in which SoftBank Energy is involved, which kicked up a storm with even international investors seeking the central gove rnment’s intervention.
Without naming any project, the minister sought to clarify, “We should not think how a finance minister can say this. I am not talking about local politics whatsoever. If you have made a promise to the people to look into irregularities, it can be done. But, we need to be careful about the international projects.”
She said that the AP government has not utilised the power supplied by the central generating stations. “I was told that the State was supplying power at Rs 9 per unit when the Centre, through its generation stations, is offering it at Rs 2.7 per unit. How can businesses, which just started operations after the lockdown, run at such rates?” she wondered.
In the last three months, the Centre transferred Rs 8,025 crore to AP to help it in the fight against COVID-19, she said. She also appealed to the BJP cadre to take into masses the need for governance and politics free of caste, corruption and dynasty.