Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah and sought special category status to the state, besides nod for three state bills and release of pending dues. In a more than an hour meeting at Shah’s residence, Reddy explained to him about the poor financial situation of Andhra Pradesh and sought more central grants that would result by giving special category status to the state.
“In order to make the state systemically stronger and “Atmanirbhar” (self-reliant), it is imperative that Andhra Pradesh is accorded Special Category Status,” said an official statement quoting Reddy as saying in the meeting. The approval of special status would entitle Andhra Pradesh for more central grants resulting in proportional reduction of financial burden on the bifurcated state, creation of jobs on the back of new industries, and attainment of fiscal self-reliance due to the enhanced tax base, he said.
On decentralisation of the state, Reddy requested the Union Home Minister to direct the authorities concerned to initiate the process of re-notification of locating the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Kurnool.
He also demanded central government’s assent to Andhra Pradesh DISHA Bills: Criminal Law (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) 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 sanction of 13 medical colleges with financial assistance, and a Central Tribal University, the statement said.
On pending dues, the chief minister said an amount of Rs 3,299 crore related to subsidy for PDS rice has to be released by the Union Food Ministry to the state and Rs 4,652.70 crore dues from Union Rural Development Ministry.
He also sought release of about Rs 529.95 crore pending dues towards Rural Local Body Grants related to 14th Finance Commission and Rs 497 crore for financial year 2020-21 related to 15th finance commission. Further, Reddy sought restructuring of debt of about Rs 50,000 crore that exists on the books of AP Power utilities.
Shah’s office said in a tweet, “The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri @ysjagan called on Union Home Minister Shri @AmitShah.”
Earlier during the day, Reddy called on Jal Shakti Minister Ganjendra Singh Shekawat and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on pending irrigation projects and environment clearance issues.
In a meeting with Shekhawat, he sought investment clearance for the second revised cost estimate of Polavaram irrigation project, amounting to Rs 55,656.87 crore at 2017-18 price level, an official statement said. He said early clearance of these funds is necessary so that the project work including land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation can be completed as per schedule by June, 2021.
Besides, Reddy sought shifting of the headquarters of Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) from Hyderabad to Rajamahendravaram at the earliest as it’s difficult to come from Hyderabad for project monitoring and inspection. He requested the Jal Shakti Minister to consider water supply component as an integral part of irrigation component and this would be in consonance with the guidelines followed by the central government towards national projects, the statement said.
He urged the Centre to reimburse the expenditure without restricting to component-wise eligibility, it said. Further, the chief minister requested the central government to reimburse funds for the land acquisition and R&R compensation for project affected families of the project as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013.
In a meeting with Javadekar, Reddy discussed pending environment clearance related issues regarding stocking works of the Polavaram project.
The Centre has set a target of December 2021 for completion of the Polavaram Irrigation Project, which aims to irrigate 2.91 lakh hectares, generate 960 MW of power and fulfil water needs of industries and 540 villages in Andhra Pradesh.
Reddy also met government think-tank Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar and discussed various development issues. He shared with Niti Aayog chief various programmes undertaken under the housing for poor scheme under which 30.76 lakh house site pattas were distributed across the state and over 17,000 new colonies have been formed.
He further told that construction of basic amenities in these colonies would cost about Rs 34,109 crore and it will be difficult for the state to bear the expense and requested Niti Aayog to discuss with the ministries concerned for part assistance, the statement said.