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A.P. Finance Minister blunts TDP’s criticism

Special Correspondent


Proposes no change in budget projections

Rules out release of Yellampalli report


HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister K. Rosaiah turned down the Opposition’s demand in the Assembly to increase the allocation to the welfare sector or make any deviation from the projections and proposals in the budget on the ground that due weightage was given to every sector.

In an elaborate three-hour-long reply to the debate on the budget in the Assembly on Thursday, Mr. Rosaiah said the Rajasekhara Reddy Government treated development and welfare as its two eyes and would handle both with utmost care and importance. He made no announcement to reduce the tax burden on the people that was highlighted by members during the debate that spanned over six days.

Amid frequent interruptions by the Telugu Desam members, the Finance Minister lambasted the previous Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on several counts, lacing his speech with Telugu proverbs and parables. In particular, he criticised Mr. Naidu for showering promises on whichever section he came across although many of them were impossible to fulfil. Telugu Desam members tried to rush to the podium in protest when he claimed that rural roads had been improved vastly and made references to late N.T. Rama Rao.

Mr Rosaiah tried to place T. Devender Goud (TDP) in a tight spot over his demand to release the Lok Ayukta report on the alleged Yellampalli scandal, saying he would comply with his request if he only suggested a way out to make the Somasekhara Commission report on Yeleru scam during the TDP regime also public.

He said CAG only spoke of “unintentional benefit” allowed to the contractor of Yellampalli to the tune of Rs 349 crore, but in case of Srisailam left bank power project, an “undue benefit” of Rs 1,397 crore was given to contractor as mentioned in the CAG report of 2000.

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