Three days after the World Bank changed the status on funding to the tune of $300 million to the Amaravati Sustainable Infrastructure and Institutional Development Project to `Dropped’, the Andhra Pradesh government says it does not mean the end of relations between the state and the World Bank.
Sources in the Government of Andhra Pradesh have told Filter Kaapi that the World Bank has “given enough indications pointing at compensating the dropped loan for Amaravati to other sectors and that there is every possibility of an increase in the quantum of aid”. In specific terms, the government says the World Bank has conveyed to a senior official in the Chief Minister’s office that it should apply for loan for an urban utilisation project.
This is in sync with what the Andhra Pradesh government special representative in Delhi, Vijayasai Reddy had told Filter Kaapi on Friday. He had said “we can always make a fresh application (for a loan).”
According to an official of the World Bank, the decision to drop the proposal to fund Amaravati was taken “because the Centre withdrew Andhra Pradesh’s application”. The YSRCP government believes this was because the Bank reportedly wanted to conduct a detailed probe into allegations of irregularities in the proposed capital project, something the Centre could not allow.
In October 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for Amaravati (pic above). Exactly a year later, the then chief minister Chandrababu Naidu sent a proposal to the Centre seeking World Bank loan for the Amaravati Sustainable Infrastructure and Institutional Development Project. While the World Bank’s share in the project was to be Rs 2100 crore, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was to lend Rs 1400 crore while the state government was to raise the remaining Rs 1500 crore.
Meanwhile, the Jaganmohan Reddy regime that has appointed a cabinet sub-committee to conduct its independent probe into Amaravati says the previous Telugu Desam government had invited tenders for infrastructure development even before the World Bank loan details were finalised. It says Rs 1872 crore was allotted to lay 92 km road and Rs 947 crore was allotted for other minor works.
According to sources in the Andhra Pradesh government, a team of the World Bank that toured the proposed capital city region in mid-September 2017 reportedly found fault with the tender process which it believed was loaded in favour of contractors. The team interacted with the farmers who were forced to give up their land, often under police pressure and was not comfortable with the manner in which a multi-crop fertile land was being sacrificed to encourage “real estate mercantile activity” (independently corroborated by this reporter when he toured the villages in October 2015).
Environmentalists also had raised objections related to violations, changing the course of River Krishna and the loss of livelihood for agriculture workers. The National Green Tribunal had been approached independently to stop the capital project.
The Jaganmohan Reddy government is now keen on getting funds for its Navratna scheme which focus on social welfare with specific emphasis on sectors like education and health. The World Bank has already extended a $328 million support to Andhra Pradesh’s health sector for which the agreement was signed on 27 June. The Bank’s overall support to the state is worth over $ 1 billion covering the agriculture, health, energy and disaster management sectors.
Categories: Andhra Pradesh