Andhra Cabinet adopts resolution against steel plant privatisation

Financial assistance to women from economically backward classes (EBCs), resolution opposing the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) and returning more than 2,000 acres of land to the farmers in the Kakinada Special Economic Zone (SEZ) were some of the key decisions taken by the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet, which met under the leadership of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday.

The Cabinet approved the welfare scheme calendar for 2021-22 and gave its nod for providing financial assistance to women from EBCs.

Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkatramaiah said that EBC Nestham, a new scheme, will be implemented from the next fiscal to provide Rs 45,000 financial assistance to eligible women between 45 and 60 years of age. The assistance will be doled out at a rate of Rs 15,000 each per annum for a span of three years.

“The government has allotted Rs 670 crore per annum totalling Rs 2,011 crore for three years for the scheme,” said Venkatramaiah.

Likewise, he said that the government will also take the burden of paying Rs 5,579 crore more as part of the public housing scheme.

In the Cabinet meeting, a decision was taken to move a resolution in the Assembly, opposing the Central government’s plan to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and also for putting more ‘pressure’ on the Centre.

Similarly, the Cabinet also gave its green signal for rolling out Kadapa Steel Plant works at a cost of Rs 10,082 crore and Rs 6,000 crore in Phase I and Phase II, respectively, with a capacity of 3 million tonnes each through a joint venture partnership.

Fulfilling Reddy’s 2019 poll promise of returning 2,180 acres of land given by the farmers for the Kakinada SEZ, the government approved a Cabinet sub-committee report recommending the return.

A compensation of Rs 5 lakh will also be doled out to the farmers whose land was utilised and it was highlighted that the previous government had allegedly failed to live up to the promise of returning the land to the farmers.

Further, the Cabinet has approved a decision to finish investigation within 100 days of those employees caught red-handed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) while indulging in corruption from the existing two-year duration.

“The government has decided to amend the law to allow action to be taken against ACB officials if an inquiry is not completed before the deadline,” said an official.

The Cabinet also decided to allocate 5 per cent land in private layouts to the poor with provisions to take serious action in the event of violation of this rule.

The Cabinet has allotted new fire stations and personnel in the Kadapa and Chittoor districts, including approving a 50-bed primary health centre in Penumuru and Karvetinagaram in Chittoor district. Medical and non-medical staff will also be recruited in these PHCs.

Likewise, the Cabinet has approved the setting up of multipurpose facility centres in villages at a cost of Rs 2,718 crore and the allocation of 165 acres of land in East Godavari district for maritime board operations.

The Cabinet has also decided to allocate 2,700 vehicles for door-to-door garbage collection in municipalities, even as Reddy directed the officials to beautify the municipalities within 3-6 months, emulating the best practices from Surat-like municipalities.