Getting central funds for Amaravati is our right, says Andhra minister Nara Lokesh
Nara Lokesh says the Telugu Desam Party is confident of coming to power in Andhra Pradesh with a massive mandate.andhra pradesh Updated: Jun 06, 2018 22:56 IST
Construction of Amaravati, the new capital for Andhra Pradesh has been the biggest challenge for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government headed by chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Though the Centre has so far released only Rs 1,500 crore for the capital, cost of which is estimated to be over Rs 58,000 crore, the TDP government is confident of completing the work. In an informal chat with Srinivasa Rao Apparasu, Andhra Pradesh information technology minister Nara Lokesh, the CM’s only son, said:?“We are not going to rest till we get what is promised to us by the Centre under the AP Reorganisation Act.” Edited excerpts:
The chief minister has said several times that AP stands for Amaravati and Polavaram... Are these going to be major issues for TDP in the 2019 elections?
We have taken up several developmental programmes and welfare schemes in the past four years. We shall go to the people seeking votes based on our performance. No doubt, Amaravati and Polavaram will be the major highlights... The elections are 10 months away and it is too early to talk about it. We shall come out with a comprehensive election manifesto.
Your government has been accusing the Centre of not releasing enough funds for the construction of Amaravati. How do you expect to complete the work?
The work on Amaravati is going on in full swing... Roads, drainage, cable and drinking water connectivity works worth over Rs 20,000 crore are on. The construction of buildings for officials, employees, ministers and legislators is moving at a brisk pace. Several educational institutions are coming up. We have also called for tenders for the construction of official complexes like the secretariat, assembly, high court and other administrative structures. Amaravati will get a shape by 2019. But yes, it will take a few years to complete the entire capital.
Why the progress on Amaravati has been very slow?
I don’t agree with that. In fact, it is much faster than many other capital cities like Naya Raipur, which took more than 15 years to take shape. We had a tough time convincing the farmers to give away their land for the capital.
It was only after a year of coming to power that we could lay foundation for the capital. It is not so easy to prepare the master plan for the city and designs for the buildings. Then there is funds crunch and we hardly got anything from the Centre despite repeated requests.
How will you complete the project without central assistance?
Nothing is going to stop. We are making all efforts to mobilise funds from various sources. At the same time, we are not going to give up our fight with the Centre to secure necessary funds as was promised in the bifurcation act. It is our right to get funds for the capital from the Centre.
Who is going to be your major opponent in the next elections – BJP or YSR Congress party or Jana Sena? Or do you foresee a multi-cornered contest?
We don’t foresee any contest from any party at all. We are confident of coming to power with a massive mandate.