All 20 urban authorities in Andhra are in red, says P Narayana

Diversion of UDAs’ revenue by previous regime hit infra development
Minister P Narayana during a review meeting on Thursday.
Minister P Narayana during a review meeting on Thursday. Express photo

VIJAYAWADA: All the 20 Urban Development Authorities (UDAs) in the State are in the red with the previous YSRC regime diverting their revenue for some other purposes, and they are almost defunct financially, said Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) P Narayana.

Speaking to mediapersons at the State Secretariat on Thursday, the MAUD Minister said large scale irregularities took place in layout approvals in Nellore and Kadapa Municipal Corporations. “We have set up a committee to probe into those irregularities. Based on the report submitted by the committee, necessary action will be initiated against the guilty,” he stated.

Elaborating on the financial situation of the UDAs, which almost cover 85% of the area in the State, he said during a review meeting with officials of all the urban authorities on pending issues, income and expenditure, it came to light that their revenue was diverted by the YSRC regime.

“The revenue generated by the UDAs is supposed to be used by them for the development of urban infrastructure. However, the UPAs could not take up any infrastructure development due to diversion of funds. I have discussed the matter with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and we will come up with a way forward soon,” he said.

Narayana revealed that a big scam of TDR bonds came to light in Tanuku municipality, where TDR bonds worth Rs 700 crore were issued, while the urban body was only qualified to issue Rs 36 crore bonds. “Those who purchased TDR bonds are now in a fix. We have ordered an inquiry into the matter, and based on the report action will be taken against those responsible for the scam,” he said.

The middle income group houses taken up by different UDAs had come to a halt at various phases of construction for want of funds. The issue was also taken to the notice of the Chief Minister, and necessary measures will be taken to complete them, he said.

For the development of infrastructure in urban areas, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) sanctioned Rs 5,300 crore in February 2019.

“The YSRC government that came to power in 2019, spent Rs 240 crore without providing its matching grant. As it failed to submit bills for Rs 240 crore spent, further assistance from AIIB did not come. Had those funds been utilised fully for the intended purpose, UDAs in the State would have 50% better infrastructure in place now. As the project tenure ends this month, we have written a letter to the AIIB seeking an extension, and are hopeful of a positive response,” he said.

Narayana also expressed his dismay over the previous government’s failure to utilise AMRUT 1 funds and complete development works. No works were taken up in the State under AMRUT 2. “For 2023-24, Rs 1,100 crore was released by the 15th Finance Commission, but the amount was diverted, and no bills were submitted. Similarly, nine lakh houses sanctioned under TIDCO were neglected, and beneficiaries are in a fix now,” he said.

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