The Government of Andhra Pradesh has bills worth Rs 38000 crore on its table that it needs to clear. This is the legacy Chandrababu Naidu has left it with, say sources in the Jaganmohan Reddy government.
Rs 10000 crore has been classified by the new government as “unnecessary and wasteful expenditure” incurred by its predecessor. Officials say they were shocked when they went through the vendor bills with a fine toothcomb in the last two months.
Highly placed officials in the CMO told Filter Kaapi that a bill of Rs 400 crore was presented as expenditure for taking thousands of people from all over Andhra Pradesh on a bus tour to Polavaram irrigation project site. Another Rs 200 crore was reportedly spent on bringing people to Amaravati to show the work taking place in the proposed state capital.
“The quality of construction of this Secretariat in Velagapudi is so bad that it leaks during the monsoon. For this, the rate was Rs 11000 per square feet,” said an official.
After March 2018, when the Telugu Desam quit the NDA, the state government reportedly spent money from its pocket on organising protests in Andhra Pradesh against the Centre over refusal to grant Special Category status.
At that time, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao had raised objections as had the YSRCP over government funds being used for the purpose. Naidu in turn, had justified it saying it is not a party programme but the demand of a state.
In the Andhra Pradesh assembly last month, the government had accused Naidu of spending Rs 39 crore on his foreign trips but failing to secure any significant investment into India. Officials in the CMO point out that even the little investment that came, was managed only after granting major tax concessions. This means except for promise of a few thousand jobs, there was to be no revenue accrual to the state.
“We have the bill for lunch the then CM hosted abroad during a trip. It came to Rs 1.3 crore,” claimed a CMO official.
The bills for conferences organised to promote Andhra Pradesh as an investment destination too have not been cleared. According to officials in the Industry ministry, the new government does not wish to clear the payment.
The problem with this refusal to clear dues is that many professionally run companies that had executed projects for Andhra Pradesh in the health, education, information technology sectors, are finding their bills stuck as well. They point out that the contracts were signed by a sovereign body, as in the Andhra Pradesh government and not by a political party and therefore it is incumbent on the government to honour the commitments. The Jagan government’s plea is that it is short of funds as well.
At a TDP meeting in Guntur on Wednesday, Naidu slammed the Jagan government for doing little but alleging corruption by the previous regime.