PM begins Andhra-specific review


Hyderabad : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday began a day-long meeting with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and other top officials here to review the state's performance in various sectors, especially agriculture and industry.

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Accompanied by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and other top central officials, Singh will review the state's achievements during the last three years.

This is the first time that a prime minister is attending a state-specific performance review meeting, which will last for over two hours.

The review is significant as Congress party ruled Andhra Pradesh is the most crucial state for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The state government has taken several initiatives in agriculture during the last three years and the prime minister sees it as the most happening state.

During the morning session, Singh will review the performance in agriculture and irrigation sectors while in the afternoon he will review state-specific projects, taken up or proposed, in infrastructure, energy, revenue, urban development, industries and transport sectors.

YSR, as the chief minister is popularly known, will seek central assistance of Rs.265.88 billion for these sectors. This includes Rs.112 billion for modernisation of three major river deltas and the canal network of Nagarjunasagar. He will also seek the prime minister's intervention for approval of various irrigation projects.

The chief minister will highlight the strides made by the state in the fast sector during last three years and will seek Rs.32.58 billion. He will also seek Rs.88 billion for various projects like Hyderabad metro rail, bullet trains connecting Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Mumbai and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India's refinery at Kakinada.

The issue of gas supply from the Krishna Godavari basin is also expected to come up. The chief minister will demand a share of the profit from the KG basin gas for the state and reiterate his stand for a controlled price for gas as otherwise the state will be burdened with Rs.40 billion to sustain the existing gas-based electricity projects.