During his 4 years of rule as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation, land scams became a commonplace. In the name of development, the TDP govt took lands from the poor farmers, but did little to utilize it. In some cases, it sold the land to the corporates or its cronies, and in some cases, they spent a lot of money of leveling a flat land. While it may look like the TDP govt had spent the money on leveling, it was not so.
Scams and corruption were rampant when Chandrababu Naidu was the CM of the state. He allowed corruption to thrive as he was the leader.Due to various land scams that happened in the state, many were asking who is 420 in AP? If you look at the details, you will know the answer.
Land That Didn’t Need Leveling
The TDP govt had spent Rs. 10 lakhs an acreand spend twice the money to level it. The interesting fact was that the land was already flat. It didn’t need further leveling. It was acquired from the farmers who used the land for farming. It has to be flat or at least flat enough that it didn’t need leveling.
Here is a quote:
“There are no mounds or bushes nor is there anyuneven terrain in the 599.35-acres of land acquiredfor Kia Motors. There is no need to level the land aswe have been cultivating the lands for years. Farmersthemselves did the levelling work long ago.- Venkat Reddy, Farmer,Ammavarupallu, Penugonda Mandal.”
The land was priced at 10 lakhs rupees an acre and the TDP govt spent Rs. 29.71 lakh on each one of them for leveling. The leveling never happened, but the money was sanctioned. The Naidu govt misused the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) to sanction the money for leveling. The reason given by the govt was that the land was being prepared for the Kia Motors. An MoU was signed with the Korean automobile maker Kia Motors for establishing manufacturing plant in Penukondamandal of Anantapur district.
Under the APIIC, 599.35 acres of land was pooled for the project at Erramanchi, Ammavarupallu, Duddebandaand Venkatagiripalem villages. The TDP govt spent Rs. 62.93 crore on the land acquisition in total. But the amount it spent on so called leveling work as way more than that. Who is 420 in AP? You can decide by looking at the way the TDP govt misused the public money while they were in power.
Where Did the Money Go?
If the land didn’t need any leveling, so where was the money. Of course, the money was a kickback that everyone enjoyed including Chandrababu Naidu. He was the leader and the enabler who sanctioned every bit of money on the project. If he allowed it to happen, he was a part of it.
Now back to the leveling scam. The APIIC invited tenders and the cost of leveling was set at Rs. 177.94 crore.Experts were of the opinion that the cost of the leveling would cost no more than Rs. 25 crores.The lands were fertile and were used for cultivation. How on earth can flat land require leveling of such a cost? If only 25 crores were spent, where did the rest of the money go.
The answer is simple –Chandrababu Naidu very conveniently pocketed the Rs. 152 crores. The intension was clear –it benefited Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh. The former CM was busy amassing wealth for his family. The other intension was to pacify MLA Palle Raghunatha Reddy, who was dropped from the cabinet.
Weeding out the Competition
To make things easier for it, the TDP govt again meddled with the process of handing out the contract. Several companies had submitted the bids, but they had to withdraw when the conditions were declared.
In order to get the contract, the company must have a turnaround of Rs. 780 crores for at least one year. This was the condition that was set by APIIC’s and which led to the withdrawal of most of the companies. Due to this condition only two companies qualified in the end L&T and NCC. This was against the general rule of inviting the tenders. By doing this, the Naidu govt had shown that they can do anything to loot the public.
It was the betrayal of the public. After the bifurcation, people of the state were looking forward to a new beginning. But the Naidu govt did nothing but loot the public money. The farmers too felt betrayed that they have been paid so low when the govt spent so much money on the leveling.
Here is another quote by a farmer:
“There is no need to spend additional money onlevelling the lands of Erramachi and Ammavarupallivillages. Spending hundreds of crores of publicmoney on land levelling is atrocious. The government must be spending such a huge sum only to pocket agood portion of it.”
– Boya Ramachandra, Ammavarupalli.
One interesting fact was that, the govt took the lands from the farmers, but the spared the lands for the TDP party members like Palle Raghunatha Reddy, the then Civil Supplies Minister Paritala Sunitha and more. Of course, they were assured that their lands will not be taken. This must have answered the question – who is 420 in AP?
The Naidu govt misused the pubic money and fooled the public. It spent more than 170 crores of rupees on leveling the land that as flat. The farmers confirmed that there was no need for leveling. It clearly shows that who is 420 in AP and its Naidu.
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