Monday, July 12, 2010

Vested interests hemorrhaging Government: Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today expressed his shock and anguish over the financially crippled State Government devising ingenious ways to forgo revenue or squander meager resources if either option would help fatten chosen people.

Talking to the media on the Assembly premises, Dr. JP recalled how the Andhra Pradesh Government allowed a huge chunk of Central funds for the Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan to lapse by failing to contribute its share of Rs.400 crore in the last financial year.

However, the Government had no compunction in making available 55000 hectares of mineral-rich land in Scheduled Areas for exploitation by vested interests. As per the State Government scheme, the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation will undertake mining and shall sell minerals charging a margin of not more than16 percent. On the one hand, the Government gives mining leases to private parties and gives them absolute freedom on pricing without seeking a share in profits other than a token royalty. On the other hand, it shackles the APMDC by stipulating its margin so that the buyers in whom it is interested can reap riches.

Dr. JP also instanced how the Government had spent Rs.1000 crore on a project without a sod of earth being turned up or an acre of land being irrigated. The pretext is preparation of designs etc for a project that will cost Rs.38500 crore as of today, and requires 3750 MW of power for its operation, translating into capital cost of nearly Rs.3 lakh and a recurring operational and maintenance cost of Rs.40000 an acre.

Dr. JP said that with the Rs.1000 crore already spent on the unviable project, the Government could have reimbursed the tuition fees of nearly half a million students or enabled a million youth to gain employment and livelihood skills.

Dr. JP wryly commented, “The Government has not gone bankrupt; vested interests are bankrupting it. No wonder, the Government starves essential schemes of funds even as it gladly and generously rewards people close to power centers.”

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