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Ambiguity shrouds Mannavaram project

Staff Reporter

Demise of YSR and present volatile situation in the State have pushed the project back


The estimated cost of the power project is

Rs. 6,000 crore

It is likely to create 6,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs


Photo: K.V. Poornachandra Kumar

No takers? There has been no development at the proposed project site of BHEL-NTPC power plant at Mannavaram in Chittoor district except this APIIC hoarding. —

TIRUPATI: The power equipment manufacturing unit jointly floated by industrial giants Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) kindled hopes of better employment and infrastructure in the industrially-backward Chittoor district, but the Central Government’s slow-pedalling on the issue, obviously due to the volatile political situation prevalent in the State, is feared to lead to the proverbial slip between the cup and the lip!

Andhra Pradesh bagged the prestigious project in a close triangular contest with Maharashtra and Rajasthan. It may be recalled that the decks had been cleared for the arrival of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Mannavaram village in Srikalahasti mandal for laying the foundation stone on September 6. The untimely demise of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy relegated the project to the back-burner, while the Telangana issue pushed it further behind.

Mannavaram shot to limelight with the announcement of the Rs. 6,000-crore project and the modest industry estimates forecast the arrival of 2,000 more ancillary units in the vicinity, making it an industrial hub in the Chittoor-Nellore district border. The development was expected to provide 6,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs.

Buying spree

The area is scarcely inhabited and habitations are strewn here and there. However, the announcement saw a tumultuous response from the realtors, who made a beeline to the otherwise sleepy village. Land value saw a phenomenal rise from Rs. 30,000 an acre to Rs. 1.25 lakh per residential plot measuring 30X40!

The buying spree reached mad heights that the Collector had to direct the Registration Department to exhibit caution while dealing with purchase/sale of land in 5 km radius around the 750 acre site. The project created frenzy to the extent that the word ‘Mannavaram’ returns over 5,000 results in any search engine!

The announcement by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah made a couple of days back that the Centre had not altogether shelved the project, but was only going slow on its inauguration failed to enthuse the stakeholders. “Notwithstanding the chaotic situation, the Prime Minister has tentatively agreed to visit the district next month to lay stone for the project”, Dr. Chinta Mohan, Member of Parliament, Tirupati told The Hindu. He felt that there was no need to panic and that the State would not allow the project to slip through its fingers.

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