Andhra Pradesh Business Educational Legal Legislature

AP: Allotment of 130 acres to Adani group criticised

Visakhapatnam: Former Secretary to the union Government, EAS Sarma, has termed as objectionable the allotment of 130 acres of land to Adani group for setting up a Data Analytics Centre in Madhurawada in the city, and felt that the decision taken by the government should be subject to enquiry by a judicial commission as the public interest implications of the decisions are far reaching.

Observing that the market prices of lands in Madhurawada have been skyrocketing these days and, even on a conservative basis, the value of the 130 acre land given to the Adani Group would exceed Rs 4000 crore, he expressed hope that the State government would hold the enquiry to establish its credibility in the eyes of the public.

“As per the Land Use Policy notified by the State Government, the lease rental per year for land leased out to private agencies for a public purpose should not be less than 10 per cent of its market value. On this basis, the lease rental for the Madhurawada land cannot be less than Rs 400 crore per year, whereas the AP government seems to have given away the land to the private group for Rs 130 crore in all. This implies that the State government has decided to pass on a huge unauthorised benefit to the Adani Group at the cost of the public exchequer. This is highly objectionable,” he pointed out.

Noting that the allotment of land to the Adani Group is not an isolated instance of the State’s undue munificence to the group, Dr. Sarma recalled that in the recent past, the State government had sold its strategic 10.5% equity share in the Gangavaram Port to the Adani Group in a non-transparent manner, in violation of the disinvestment guidelines approved by the Government of India, by not adopting an open, transparent bidding procedure.

“It not only meant a loss to the public exchequer but it also paved the way to the group to strengthen its claim to buy the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant for a pittance, following the Centre’s imprudent move to privatise it. The State government has apparently joined hands with the Centre in the latter’s highly objectionable move to privatise the port. Considering that privatisation of the steel plant has widespread sentimental implications for the people of the northern Andhra region, it implies that the State, in collusion with the Centre, has deliberately chosen to act against the interests of the people of the northern parts of AP,” he alleged.

Besides, although the State government is the ultimate owner of the Krishnapatnam Port and has a heavy stake in it, it unilaterally allowed the Adani Group to acquire 100% share in that port, without due consideration of such acquisition having adverse implications for the State, he pointed out. “

Almost at the same time, there are rumours that the State government would also hand over the operation and maintenance of the government-owned Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Station to the Adani Group, though in terms of technical experience and expertise, the experience and capability of the Adani Group pales into insignificance, compared to APGENCO, the public sector undertaking, rated among the best in the country. Involving a private agency in running the Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Plant would also imply disrespecting the legacy of the former Chief Minister of the State, after whom the plant had been named by your predecessors,” he stated.