New Delhi, Jun 28 (PTI) TDP MPs today protested at the residence of Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh here, demanding that the Centre fulfill the promises made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (APR) Act and set up a steel plant in the state’s Kadapa district. Also Read - Samalkha MLA's Sons Booked For Fraud in Gurugram For Fraud Under PMAY-U Scheme

The party’s lawmakers also claimed that they sought an appointment to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, but his office denied it. Also Read - Master Box Office Day 3: Thalapathy Vijay Starrer Collects Rs 100 Crore Already - a Flying Winner!

Fifteen Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MPs protested for about two hours before the Union Steel minister met them and discussed the issue. Also Read - Dhamaka: Kartik Aaryan Starrer To Premiere on Netflix? Here's What We Know So Far!

They held placards reading “save Andhra Pradesh” and “we demand a steel plant at Kadapa”.

The MPs said that at the meeting, Singh “failed to give an assurance or a deadline as to when the plant would be set up”. Party leader J C Diwakar Reddy said, The state has already conveyed that it will give land at a nominal cost and bear the cost of connectivity, logistics among others things (for the plant). The Centre is using delaying tactics.” The lawmakers also submitted a letter, written by Chief Minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu, to the Union minister.

“Andhra Pradesh has been put to severe hardships due to the unscientific bifurcation imposed on it and on account of the loss of revenue resources. The construction of the steel plant is a deeply felt economic need of the region and has now become an emotive issue,” the letter read.

The TDP government in Andhra Pradesh has been demanding that the Centre establish an integrated steel plant in Kadapa district as promised in the APR Act.

On June 13, the Centre, citing the Steel Authority of India’s feasibility report, told the Supreme Court that it was not “financially viable” to construct the steel plant.

Five days later, TDP MP Ramesh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to take steps to establish the plant. On June 20, he launched an indefinite hunger strike on the issue in Kadapa district.

Today, the Union Steel minister spoke to Ramesh over phone and urged him to end his fast.

The TDP MP told Singh that he would continue his fast till the Centre gives a “specific and clear assurance” on the plant, according to an official of the Andhra Pradesh government.

Naidu had earlier said the Centre was delaying the plant to “benefit Gali Janardhan Reddy and Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy”. He had said his government wrote several letters to the Centre, raised the issue in Parliament, met the prime minister and Union ministers, and made a number of representations, but the BJP leaders “are adamant”. “Despite MECON submitting that the steel plant is feasible, the Centre filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against it,” he had said.

MECON is the project consultant for the proposed steel plant.

Elaborating on the issue, TDP MP Jay Galla said, “SAIL was asked to examine the feasibility of setting up a steel plant in Kadapa district according to the APR Act.” “In December 2014, it submitted that it’s not feasible. Later, when the TDP resisted and demanded that the Centre fulfill the promise made in the Act, it constituted a task force on December 7, 2016, to re-look into the issue,” Galla said.

“The Centre, citing the old 2014 SAIL report, filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, stating that a steel plant in Kadapa is not feasible. If it is genuinely interested in setting up the plant, it should have waited for the task force report,” he said. The proposed steel plant has become another point of confrontation between the Centre and the TDP-ruled Andhra Pradesh.

In March, the TDP pulled out of the NDA government over its refusal to grant special status to the state.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.