Amravati smart city: Huge setback for pet Andhra project as World Bank drops plan to lend $300 million

Devanjana Nag
Andhra Pradesh

Amravati smart city: A big blow-up for the state of Andhra Pradesh! The Amaravati Capital City project suffered a setback as the World Bank has decided against providing $300 million funding for the purpose. The website of World Bank shows the status of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's dream project as "dropped". On a loan sought by the former Chief Minister, the World Bank was considering lending an amount of $300 million for infrastructure development in the capital of the state, under the Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project, according to a recent IE report. It was named Amaravati Sustainable Infrastructure and Institutional Development Project.

The plan to build the capital by acquiring land from farmers was opposed by several NGOs led by Narmada Bachao Andolan and Capital Region Farmers Federation, Working Group on International Financial Institutions, National Alliance of People's Movements, Human Rights Forum, Andhra Pradesh, and Centre for Financial Accountability. They also protested against the development of the project very near to the Krishna riverbank. Considering the petitions filed by the NGOs, the World Bank had sought an inspection report on whether the then state government had followed all the commitments it made and whether the building of the capital city followed all rules and regulations. The report on inspection was submitted in the month of January this year. The inspection was done on around 50 points, however, the inspection report has not been made public.

According to the IE report, the lawyer who represented Capital Region Farmers Federation, Mallela Sheshagiri Rao said that the facts were misrepresented by the TDP government, who made all kinds of promises to secure the loan for the project. None of the assurances and promises by the former CM to farmers of the region were being fulfilled. In this four-year-long struggle, farmers in the region lost livelihood, land and spent sleepless nights, the report quoted the lawyer as saying. With the World Bank dropping the idea of funding this project, people have finally won, Rao said. This should be a message to the state government that before seeking such loans, they should address the concerns of the people. The fact that the World Bank is not making the inspection report public is unfortunate otherwise all the truth about how the former state government broke rules and dishonoured its commitment would have come out, Rao added.