Amaravati project orphaned as funding agencies back off

Amaravati project orphaned as funding agencies back off

Construction work at the secretariat towers, residential complexes for the ministers, legislators, judges and officers came to a halt. (DH Photo)

Eerie silence rules the vast project site of Amaravati township, except the occasional rumble of trucks that are evacuating heavy machinery used in the construction of Andhra Pradesh's new state capital.  The contractors have pulled out and the construction workers have vanished in search of work elsewhere.

With uncertainty looming large over the future of the project, construction work at the secretariat towers, residential complexes for the ministers, legislators, judges and officers came to a halt with the Y S Jaganmohan Reddy’s government giving a stop order immediately after coming to power.

Despite the state government allocating Rs 500 crore for Amaravati in the recent budget, external agencies have washed their hands of the huge infrastructure project. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which was supposed to finance Rs 1,400 crore toed the World Bank’s line. Together they formed a major chunk of funding for the project.

“AIIB is no longer considering the Amaravati Sustainable Infrastructure and Institutional Development Project for funding,” an AIIB communiqué said. AIIB’s move came after the World Bank withdrew the promised Rs 2,100 crore funding citing Centre’s refusal to partner with former CM Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s pet project.

The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) which is entrusted with the task of developing the capital town is facing a credibility crisis with the state Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy asking the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Union Ministry of Finance, to investigate alleged corruption by Naidu government.

The APCRDA is negotiating with domestic banks for a loan of Rs 10,000 crore. Officials say that they are waiting for the direction of the chief minister, who has reviewed the status of the project twice already.

The government is happy that the World Bank is willing to fund projects in other sectors such as education and health.