A couple of days ago, the TDP social media cell trended #YSJaganFailedCM. The intention was to establish that the chief minister had failed to tackle the floods effectively and also scared the industry with his move to review decisions taken by the TDP government between 2014-19.
At the same time, news was planted in select media that Indonesian pulp and paper giant, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) had decided to move its investment out of Andhra Pradesh. APP had signed an MoU with the government last year when Chandrababu Naidu was CM. APP had evinced interest in investing Rs 24000 crore in its proposed pulp and paper manufacturing unit in Prakasam district. What was significant about it is that it was to be the single largest FDI so far in the country and expected to generate 4000 direct and 12000 indirect jobs. It was to be the world’s biggest paper and board mill to be located in Ramayapatnam on the Andhra Pradesh coast.
Earlier this week, the Industries department, realising the bid to hurt Andhra Pradesh and the government’s image, issued a rejoinder stating it is in touch with the APP senior management.
Now APP has stepped in to dispel the mischievous rumours circulating that said that as a result of the “the new CM creating a hostile environment for deals concluded under the previous CM, the APP had cancelled the MoU.”
In a statement it said, “APP is still evaluating the economic and logistical considerations for the development of a pulp and paper mill at Ramayapatnam, including site suitability, adequate water supply, regulatory approvals and the supply of sustainable plantation wood. Contrary to speculation in the media, no decision has yet been taken to commence or withdraw the proposed development at this time.”
Rajat Bhargava, the Industries Principal Secretary of Andhra Pradesh confirmed to Filter Kaapi that APP had initially selected three site – Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
“We are trying to woo them to convert this from a potential to real investment. They have not taken a final decision. Andhra Pradesh has huge advantages of water and land. The connectivity to the east coast is critical as they operate out of Indonesia,” said Bhargava.
The proposed APP mill would be able to produce 5 million tonnes of paper annually. The project construction is envisaged as a long-term engagement that may stretch over the next ten years.