Hyderabad, May 29: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday wondered why the state should pay taxes to a central government that was “unwilling” to release funds for its development, particularly the new capital.
“The Centre has not been releasing funds for Amaravati because it does not want a world-class capital city to come up in Andhra Pradesh. Then why should we pay taxes to the Centre at all?” Naidu, also the president of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), posed in his concluding remarks at the third day of the Mahanadu – the party’s annual conclave – in Vijayawada.
He said that Amaravati would fetch a lot of revenue for the Centre in the form of income tax, corporate tax and GST once it was developed into a modern city. “But the Centre is still not forthcoming in helping us build the capital city. Why? Doesn’t Andhra Pradesh need a capital city like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru?” he asked.
Naidu gave a brief powerpoint presentation to explain how the ruling BJP was “discriminating against Andhra Pradesh” while spending Rs 95,000 crore to build the Dholera smart city in Gujarat.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Dholera will be four times bigger than Delhi and seven times more advanced than Shanghai. When his home state can have a second capital, why is he creating hurdles in constructing a capital city for Andhra Pradesh?” he wondered.
The chief minister also rubbished the Opposition’s criticism that his government was spending all the money at its disposal on Amaravati at the cost of other developmental works. “We have not spent a single rupee on acquiring 34,000 acres of land from farmers for the capital city. In lieu of their lands, we have given them plots. We are monetising the land to generate funds for the creation of infrastructural facilities such as roads, drainage, electricity, drinking water and residential buildings. In the coming years, Amaravati will become a self-sustaining venture, and we will have thousands of crores of rupees to spend on other parts of the state,” he said.
He said Amaravati would become home to 35 lakh people with access to world-class facilities. “Unfortunately, the opposition parties have neither the vision nor the foresight for a project like this. YSR Congress party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy says he will return the lands acquired from the farmers. Just imagine what will happen to the capital city if the lands are given away?” he asked.
Many farmers who had given up their land for Amaravati also spoke at the event. They said they had done so voluntarily in the hope that the state will one day have the best capital city in the world. (Courtesy: HT)