Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday requested the Centre to revise its stand against setting up an integrated steel plant in Kadapa district, even as two TDP leaders began an indefinite fast in that town, demanding that it be set up.
The Chief Minister in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also requested the Centre to file a revised affidavit in the Supreme Court in this regard. “It is learnt that the Ministry of Steel has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court that the project is not economically feasible. It appears that the said affidavit was filed based on the initial report of SAIL. Considering the circumstances and the latest feasibility report of MECON, the Government of India may take necessary action for establishment of an integrated steel plant and consider filing a revised affidavit immediately,” Naidu said.
Naidu said that if the project materialises, it would make the backward Rayalaseema region of the State economically prosperous.The Chief Minister also reminded the Prime Minister of a memorandum he personally submitted on January 12, seeking implementation of the assurance related to the steel plant in Kadapa, as provided in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. “There is a statutory duty on the part of the Government of India to fulfill the assurance as stated in the Act,” the Chief Minister noted.
In Kadapa, TDP MP C M Ramesh launched an indefinite fast along with a state legislative council member, demanding that the Centre immediately set up the plant in the district as per provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council member M Ravindranatha Reddy too joined the MP in the fast. Both leaders hail from Kadapa district.
Ramesh, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP, had written to Modi on Monday, saying he would be ‘constrained to undertake an indefinite fast’ if immediate steps were not taken to set up the plant. The MP alleged that the Centre was blocking setting up of the plant, saying it was not viable and vowed to continue the protest till the Centre conceded the demand.
As per Schedule 13 of the Reorganisation Act, “SAIL shall, within six months from the appointed day, examine the feasibility of establishing an integrated steel plant in YSR (Kadapa) district of the successor State of Andhra Pradesh.” BJP MLC Somu Veerraju alleged that TDP was trying to politicise the issue and maintained that the Centre was ready to set up the plant.A formal announcement in this regard would be made soon, he added.The proposed steel plant is emerging as another point of contention between the Centre and the TDP, which had in March pulled out of the NDA government over its refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh. PTI