The UAE-based conglomerate Lulu group has not taken kindly to the manner in which it was ejected from Andhra Pradesh. The YSRCP government cancelled 13.83 acres of land allotted to the group in Visakhapatnam on 30 October. This was given to the Lulu group by the Chandrababu Naidu government to develop an international convention centre at Harbour Park on the Vizag Beach road and also a shopping mall and five-star hotel. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had laid the foundation stone for the convention centre in February 2018. The plan was to establish the City of Destiny as a convention hub to match Hyderabad.
The Jaganmohan Reddy government had cited the TDP regime’s decision to give land at a throwaway price of Rs 4 lakh per acre as the reason to cancel the allotment. The Lulu group was miffed and did not take kindly to this insinuation. It insisted it had participated in a very transparent bidding process and was awarded the land on lease for the project.
“Given the current scenario, we have decided not to invest in any new projects in Andhra Pradesh,” the group said. The group claimed it had incurred huge expenditure towards initial project development, appointing international consultants and architects to design the project. The Lulu group was planning to invest Rs 2200 crore in Andhra Pradesh and provide employment to 7000 local youth.
And to drive home the point that Andhra Pradesh was being singled out for boycott by the Lulu group, its note said that its investments in other states – Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala – will go ahead as per schedule.
The Jagan vs Lulu battle of attrition comes at a time when the Singapore Consortium too backed out of the Amaravati project by mutual consent. The contract given to Navayuga for the Polavaram irrigation project too was overturned. There has been considerable consternation over the manner in which Jagan regime has taken on the private power producers, with an eye to revise the agreements signed during the Naidu era.
But the Andhra Pradesh Industry ministry points out that despite signing the MoU in 2018, no construction work had begun so far. “By now, they should have constructed eight floors,” says M Goutham Reddy, Industry minister. His office says the land allotment also violated environmental norms in the beach zone.
But even as Jagan is being slammed for being industry-unfriendly despite having been an industrialist himself, the chief minister has received support from the BJP on its decision on the Lulu group. State unit president Kanna Lakshmi Narayana in a letter to the CM called the allotment decision “one of the most corrupt and reckless decisions” taken by Chandrababu Naidu and welcomed the decision to scrap it.
Categories: Andhra Pradesh