Kadapa (AP), Dec 27 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu Thursday laid the foundation stone for the establishment of a steel plant in Kadapa district.

The plant had been a contentious issue between the State and the Central governments with the former accusing the latter of not honouring the commitment made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

The Rs 18,000 crore project was taken up only to prove a point to the Centre that the State government had the capacity to set up the steel plant despite the formers non-cooperation, the chief minister said on the occasion.

The Centre has been maintaining that modalities of investment for the steel plant would be finalized “keeping the best interests of the people of the state in mind” once state-run consultancy firm MECON prepared the feasibility report.

The state government has to acquire over 1500 acres for the steel plant in Mylavaram mandal of Kadapa district while another 1500 acres of government land is available.

State Industries (Mines and Textiles) Secretary B Sreedhar said it would take at least two years to secure environmental clearances for the project while land acquisition could be completed in the meantime.

Another two years would be required to order and obtain machinery for the plant. “So it will take at least four years before the plant can take any shape,” he said.

“Laying of foundation-stone for this make-believe project is only to cheat the people of AP yet again,” BJP MP G V L Narasimha Rao said.

It was Naidu’s “grand build-up and a drama,” he added.

The YSR Congress alleged a massive scandal in the name of acquiring lands for the steel plant.

“A TDP MP purchased 5,000 acres of land using benamis in the area where the steel plant is planned. The same lands are being acquired for hundreds of crores.This is pure scandal,” YSRC leader and former minister Aanam Ramanarayana Reddy said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.