Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday reminded the Centre of its promise on special category status for his state, a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to inaugurate the new capital Amaravati.
“I am asking the Union government and Prime Minister to fulfil the promise under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. I am asking the PM for a package and special category status...We are a 16-month-old state with many problems.” Naidu told NDTV in an interview.
The promise of special category status -- which grants states benefits from the Centre -- was made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the bifurcation of the state in 2014.
The issue was raked up by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and YSR Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy who demanded that PM Modi make the announcement when he visits the state. Naidu, who shares an alliance with the BJP, dismissed the demand as “mere politics”.
The general secretaries of the two Communist parties, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) and S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI) too have jointly written to Modi urging him to announce special status for Andhra.
“We are of the strong opinion that promises made to the people and assurances given to Parliament must be immediately addressed and consequently, all the proposed schemes for development are put in operation,” they wrote.
CM Naidu also said he expected the Centre to extend help in building the capital. “We need handholding by the Centre till the state develops on par with other neighbouring states,” he told IANS.
New capital: Amaravati
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for the new capital Amaravati at Uddandarayunipalem village in Guntur district on the occasion of Dussehra.
Elaborate arrangements have been made for the gala event, which will be attended by ministers from Singapore and Japan, ambassadors from various countries, several central ministers, chief ministers and governors of various states, top politicians and business leaders.
PM Modi along with other dignitaries will perform rituals at 12.35 pm to formally lay the foundation stone.
Soil and water brought from all 16,000 villages of Andhra Pradesh will be sprinkled all over Amaravati from helicopters. Water brought from holy places of all the religions will also be used for the foundation stone.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will be attending the ceremony in his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation of the state last year.
Opposition leader Jaganmohan Reddy wrote an open letter to Naidu, saying he will boycott the ceremony as “fertile lands were forcibly taken from farmers” for the capital.
The government, however, claimed that farmers had voluntarily donated over 30,000 acres of land and will be felicitating some of them at the ceremony.
Naidu has promised that it will be a world-class ‘people’s capital’. While the government of Singapore has prepared the masterplan for the capital, Naidu is seeking partnership of Japan in building the city.
With inputs from agencies