New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday and sought Special Category status for Andhra Pradesh, assent to three state bills, including the Disha bill, and the release of pending dues to the state. In the meeting with Shah, Reddy highlighted the poor financial status of the state and said, “In order to make the state systemically stronger and “Atmanirbhar” (self-reliant), it is imperative that Andhra Pradesh is accorded Special Category Status.” The status would enable the state to access more central grants, more industries, creation of jobs and attainment of fiscal self-reliance due to an increased tax base, he said.
Reddy also urged the Union Home Minister to give assent to Andhra Pradesh Disha Bill, 2019, Andhra Pradesh Disha (Special Courts for Specified Offences against Women and Children) Bill, 2020 and Andhra Pradesh Land Titling Authority Bill, 2020. Reddy also sought the sanction of 13 medical colleges and a Central Tribal University.
The Chief Minister pointed out that Rs 3,299 crore of PDS rice subsidies has to be released by the Union Food Ministry to the state and a due of Rs 4,652.70 crore is pending with the Union Rural Development Ministry. He also demanded that the pending dues towards Rural Local Body Grants related to the 14th and 15th Finance Commission be released. Reddy also sought the restructuring of debt of around Rs 50,000 crore that exists on the books of AP Power utilities.
The Andhra Pradesh CM also met Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and discussed clearance of pending irrigation projects and environment dues.
Reddy held a meeting with Shekhawat and sought investment clearance for the second revised cost estimate of Polavaram irrigation project, and demanded that the headquarters of the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) be shifted from Hyderabad to Rajamahendravaram. He said that the above changes were required for timely land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation.
He requested the Jal Shakti Minister to consider the water supply component as an integral part of the irrigation component, which would be in alignment with the central government guidelines towards national projects, as per an official statement. The statement further said that Reddy urged the Centre to reimburse the expenditure without restricting to component-wise eligibility. He also requested the central government to reimburse funds for the land acquisition and provide compensation for affected families of the Polavaram project.
Reddy met Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and discussed issues related to pending environment clearances in the Polavaram project. The project aims to irrigate 2.91 lakh hectares, generate 960 MW of power and fulfil the water needs of industries and 540 villages in Andhra Pradesh and has a deadline of December 2021.
Reddy also met Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and discussed various development issues.
He discussed the state government’s housing-for-poor schemes with the Niti Aayog chief under which 30.76 lakh house site pattas have been distributed across the state and over 17,000 new colonies have been formed. He requested the Niti Aayog to urge the relevant ministries to assist with the schemes as the state government would not be able to bear all the expenses.
(With inputs from PTI)