The AP Government’s choice to invest in the Steel Plant drew attention for its audacity in the times when the governments, both at Centre and in States, are increasingly withdrawing investment in the public sector.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Jagan Mohan Reddy will be making a two day visit to his home district Kadapa on July 7th and 8th. The tour to Kadapa includes a visit to the steel plant and IIIT in the district. The young CM’s visit marks the commemoration of his father, late YS Rajesekhar Reddy’s 71st birth anniversary.
The trip is the first after the CM laid the foundation stone for the Kadapa steel plant in Sunnapurapalle and Pedda Nandluru in Jammalamadugu last December. With an investment of Rs. 15,000 Crores, the steel plant is to be developed in 3,295 acres of land allocated in tune with the promises he made during Padayatra. It is estimated that the steel plant would provide direct employment to 10,000 people and indirect employment to 15,000 people by producing 3 million tonnes of iron per annum.
This was the third such instance of laying the foundation stone. It was on June 10th, 2007 when the foundation stone was laid by Y.S.Rajeshekara Reddy for the first time allocating a land extent of 10,000 acres to Obulapuram Mining Company owned by Gali Janardhan Reddy. The project was stalled due to the sudden demise of Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy, later due to CBI and ED cases against Gali Janardhan Reddy. The allocated land was taken aback by the State.
Second such instance was on December 27th, 2018 when the then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone in M. Kambaladinne village of Mylavaram with an allocation of Rs. 2 Crores, a few months before the election.
Kadapa steel plant has been a long-pending demand by the people of Rayalaseema that remains elusive for more than a decade. The demand for steel plant was raised mainly to use the iron-ore reserves available in Obulapuram and address the issues of unemployment in the backward Rayalaseema region. The Central government of India promised the construction of the Kadapa steel plant along with Bayyaram steel plant in Telangana under the AP Reorganization Act 2014. Yet it refrained from going ahead with the construction after the exploration by the Steel Authority of India revealed that the quality of the iron-ore available is unfeasible to extract steel.
Establishment of the plant by Steel Authority of India was part of AP Reorganisation Act. But the BJP led NDA government has long ignored the project. Ahead of the CM’s visit, recalling the hindrances of the past, the APCC working president N Tulasi Reddy urged the Chief Minister to clear the government’s stand about the Steel plant.
The AP Government’s choice to invest in the Steel Plant drew attention for its audacity in the times when the governments, both at Centre and in States, are increasingly withdrawing investment in the public sector. The Jagan Mohan Reddy administration couldn’t turn its back on the prestigious project in the CM’s native district, especially with a past that is entwined with his father YS Rajashekara Reddy and his rival Chandrababu Naidu, both laying foundation once each.
However, the Centre has not made any acknowledgement of the project so far, least announcing any support financially or otherwise. Even the AP Government’s approach pertaining to the project has been unclear. The 2019-20 budgetary allocation saw Rs. 250 crores for the project. Considering that the government is waiting to find a potential partner to complete the project in PPP mode, it is still unsure if the target to complete the project in 3 years would be met.
After the visit to the Steel Plant, Jagan Mohan Reddy will pay respects his father at the Idupulapaya estate where the Ex. Minister was laid to rest.