The Centre has made it clear that the establishment of a steel plant in either Andhra Pradesh or Telangana, is not on the cards. This is disappointing news for all Telugus, and in fact reflects poorly on the NDA government as well. Then came BJP state president Kanna Lakshmi Narayana with a clarification on this news. He made it clear that this was all part of TDP government's malicious campaign against the BJP and it was all false. In fact Kanna questioned why the AP government, had not in association with Mekan Company come up with a feasibility report, which the Centre had asked for. Finally, the fact is that despite all claims from state and central governments, Kadapa steel plant has not taken off.
Both central and state governments have spent four years in power, but not even a single step in the direction for establishment of steel plant in Kadapa was taken up. Whom should we blame? Is it the Centre or state? This is something to be debated about. But ultimately work should be done, and that is the ultimate purpose.
This leads us to the point—In our country there tends to be opposition to anyone who comes to establish industries. It doesn't stop there; they are subjected harassment wherein CBI or other agencies try to thwart their plans. This is an alarming trend which is definitely not good for the country. On the other hand, we have people who have established industries or said will establish industries, and have borrowed hundreds of crores of loans from the banks and have done the vanishing act, taking refuge in foreign lands. All along, the CBI has remained a mute spectator.
The decisions taken by the central government between 2004-09 were driven to a large extent, by Sonia Gandhi's vengeance which resulted in the state falling behind in development. Moreover, the then opposition party TDP and its leader Chandrababu Naidu supported Congress moves to further the cause of damage to the state.
To recall what had happened, the proposal to establish steel plant in Kadapa first came up during the tenure of late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy. He welcomed the move and immediately pooled 2000 acres of land for establishing the plant. The most important thing was that the land owners were compensated as per rules.
A rumour was set afoot that mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy was setting up a steel plant and a hue and cry was raised over a non-starter. It didn't end there. The TDP's Yellow media came up with a fabricated story saying that the land pooled for the steel plant had many exotic and useful varieties of trees and plants. They claimed ecological damage when the fact is that it was all wasteland. But Dr YSR wanted to clear the air over the land and called for an inquiry into the matter. As things turned out, he got a clean chit.
At this juncture it is also important to know that both TDP and Congress framed charges against all those who came to establish industries and chased them away, thus dismantling the developmental activity in the state. A recollection of Chandrababu's vicious, smear campaign against Byyaram mines in Telangana, which would have been the source for many more industries to come up, is an unpleasant experience.
It is surprising that these very leaders who stopped industries from coming to the state are now staging protests for industries not being established in AP. TDP MP CM Ramesh had said he would hold a protest in this matter. Already YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy, Left parties and NGOs have staged different protests, but Chandrababu government was not concerned about it. It is being said that the Centre had stated that it is impossible to establish Kadapa and Byyaram steel plants within six months of forming the government in 2014. Why hasn't Chandrababu thought about alternatives? Why has he discouraged industrialists who came forward to establish units? Why hasn't he developed the feasibility report for Kadapa steel plant?
Should we think all these are nothing but a ploy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chandrababu? In fact, on many occasions Venkaiah Naidu had said that Modi and Chandrababu were the paths to development. Going by the present situation, it looks like Kadapa steel plant was a non-starter only because of these two figures. It is said Chandrababu has no love lost for Kadapa because the TDP has won only one seat there.
As if this was not enough, Congress while preparing the AP Bifurcation act has clearly mentioned we have to look at the feasibility of the project thereby cheating the people of the state. Now, it is the turn of BJP and TDP to sing the same tune. This is the unfortunate situation in our state. During the Vizag steel agitation, all the parties joined hands and fought for the steel plant with the famous slogan Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku (Visakha steel plant is the right of Andhras). On the contrary today with BJP, TDP and Congress playing politics over the Kadapa steel plant, the project has not materialized, which is the most unfortunate aspect of it all.
At least now, Chandrababu should stop playing around with people's sentiments and start working towards getting the steel plant established. He should call for an all-party meeting, form a team for this purpose, and lead them to meet the PM to request for approving the steel plant in Kadapa. He should also encourage the private investors who had come forward and help in establishing the plant. Otherwise, the people of Andhra Pradesh, especially Rayalaseema will find that they have been cheated once again by TDP.