Naidu to fast track development of Seemandhra
On a steaming morning on May 27, the entire stretch of road that lead to Gandipet in Hyderabad was suffused with yellow, with banners and huge cut-outs of Telugu Desam Party and its chief Mr N Chandrababu Naidu fluttering in the thin summer breeze. Inside the TDP headquarters, thousands of party workers from all over the State waited in the heat for their leader, who led the party to a resounding win in Seemandhra and did better than expected in Telangana region.
Hours later, a confident looking Mr Naidu, his face beaming with pride and triumph, walks in, greets the crowd with folded hands, amidst loud drum beating and cheering from the ecstatic crowd.
To someone who has been following this great leader for several years, it was a sight to behold. Here was the man who the people of Seemandhra, especially Visakhapatnam, believe will deliver their dreams and repeat the feat that he had done in Hyderabad when he was in power earlier.
Now, the same confident Naidu is back with a bang, at a time when the State has been cut into two and the residual region is staring at an immediate deficit of Rs 15,000 crore.
The Chief Minister-designate of divided Andhra Pradesh is however brimming with confidence. “When I had taken over the State (as CM in 1995), I had faced the same situation. I did not have money to may my (government) staff the first month. But I did not back out. Years later, the same Hyderabad became an international city, visited by personalities ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Gates. We will do the same thing now (in Seemandhra),” he said.
He is unhappy over the way the state has been divided. “Well, I had been very vocal on the way the bifurcation happened—but that is past now. The bifurcation has happened. On June 2, we will have two states (in place for unified AP). The question is how to move forward. I will have to admit here that given all my experience as a chief minister for nine years and opposition leader for two terms, I am concerned. I can imagine how anxious the common man is, their fear about what is going to happen, their insecurity. On one hand, (residual) Andhra will straight away inherit a revenue deficit of Rs 15,000 crore and on the other we have to set up a new capital from the scratch. How much money will the centre provide for this is also not known. This and a host of other crucial issues were not straightened out by the Centre while it divided the State,” Mr Naidu says.
However, the tech-savvy TDP Chief has a road map in mind. It is the Chinese model of decentralised development and administration. He explains: “Take the Seemandhra region, for example—every city in the region has its own potential and resources that can be developed into a hub. For instance, the Vizag-Kakinada region can be developed into a petrochemical hub, Cuddapah-Kurnool-Anantapur, which is rich in mineral wealth, into a mineral-based industrial hub, the Elluru-Nellore coastal stretch into a aquaculture growth centre and the cotton growing Prakash-Guntur region into a textile hub.
No one doubts his ability to play the same charm and magic to bring in Global personalities to mobilise investments in the state. Ït is well known that Mr Naidu has connections with top businessmen, political leaders around the world, which we are sure he will tap.
Primarily investors are looking around the world for investments. So what Mr Naidu needs do is create a climate of investments where investors find an opportunity rather than an obligation to come to Seemandhra for setting up business. The best thing is that he has done this earlier and now he is in a better position to do it again, especially given the fact that he is part of the Modi-led NDA Government at the centre.
There exists potential in diverse sectors, ranging from ports to minerals like granite, iron ore and limestone for cement making.