Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh have been critical of the TDP-led government for failing to build anything other than the Interim Government Complex (IGC) in the last three years in the new capital Amaravati. The IGC contains five blocks of the Secretariat and one of the Legislature. But the government has submitted “utilisation certificates” (UCs) to the Centre, which granted Rs 1,500 crore, stating the money was spent on building “structures as mentioned”, according to a bureaucrat. The Raj Bhavan and the High Court are yet to be built as also the “permanent” Secretariat and the Legislature Complex though 43 months have elapsed since AP’s bifurcation. “Though the Centre released funds, the state government grossly failed in developing even basic infrastructure in the capital,” Pradesh Congress Committee president and former minister N Raghuveera Reddy said. The Centre granted a sum of Rs 1,500 crore during the financial years from 2014 to 2017 to Andhra for building the Raj Bhavan, the HC, Secretariat and the Legislature buildings and also creating “such other essential infrastructure”. Asked on what structures was this money spent, the AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Commissioner Cherukuri Sreedhar said, “As it was mentioned”.
This implied the grant was utilised for building the Raj Bhavan and other structures specified by the Government of India (GoI). While releasing the first instalment of the grant – “in terms of the relevant provision of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014” – the Centre specified that Rs 500 crore was for the Raj Bhavan and the Assembly building. In 2015-16, it released Rs 350 crore for construction of the new capital city and another Rs 200 crore for creation of essential urban infrastructure, including the Raj Bhavan, the HC, the Secretariat and the legislature complex. Further, Rs 450 crore was released in 2016-17 “for creation of essential urban infrastructure”. When pointed out that no such structures exist, except the IGC, Sreedhar said, “They are all structures which are under development. Some are under design stage, some under execution stage, some are completed, some are being developed. We have details.”
Asked how UCs were submitted when construction of these structures (Raj Bhavan and HC among others) has not even started, the Commissioner maintained, “You say they are not yet started, I am saying they are already started. “You are seeing only what’s on the ground. There are a lot of preparatory activities for which we have spent the money.” Union Minister of State for Finance P Radhakrishnan told the Rajya Sabha the AP government furnished “utilisation certificates for an expenditure of Rs 1,583 crore to NITI Aayog”. Radhakrishnan gave a written reply to a questioned raised by YSR Congress member V Vijayasai Reddy last week. In its latest status report on the Amaravati project, the CRDA said it has forwarded detailed project reports of government buildings for disbursement of the GoI grant. “The GoI has already released an amount of Rs 1,500 crore to the state government and an additional Rs 1,000 crore is expected to be released,” the status report added.
The report said Rs 6,705 crore is required to build the government complex (including the Secretariat, HC and Legislature, among others) over the next three years. With the Central grant already spent on other purposes, the AP government is now left with no other option but to borrow heavily from outside sources, officials said. Andhra Pradesh has time till 2024 to build its capital before the current joint capital, Hyderabad, is transferred to Telangana.