Vijayawada: Admitting that he has no other alternative, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday welcomed the announcement by the Centre that it will provide monetary benefits to the state equivalent to special category status. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief only demanded that the Centre gives clarity and implements its promises in a time-bound manner.
He addressed a news conference here past midnight, an hour after Union Finance Arun Jaitley made the announcement in Delhi following day-long consultations with the state leaders. Jaitley announced that as special category status can t be granted to the state, the Centre will provide equal monetary benefits through externally aided projects. Naidu, whose TDP is a partner in BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, said while he still wants special category status, the Centre has at least come forward to declare that it will provide equivalent compensation.
Naidu said if he had insisted on special category status, the delay would further damage the state s interests. He admitted that there is no alternative. This was obvious reference to political reality as National Democratic Alliance government is not dependent on TDP s support. He also welcomed the announcement that the Centre will meet 100 per cent funding for Polavaram project but demanded that the work be speeded up.
The TDP chief also noted that the Centre agreed to bridge revenue deficit of the state for three years. Naidu also claimed that the Centre agreed for formation of four industrial clusters, each with an investment of Rs 3,000 crore. He said the central government also agreed to extend help in developing a major port and in setting up Rs 20,000 crore refinery of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) at Kakinada.