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AP cabinet scraps land allotment to Lulu group for convention

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Press Trust of India Amaravati (AP)
The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday cancelled the allotment of 13.83 acres of prime land in Visakhapatnam by the previous Chandrababu Naidu government to Indian multinational Lulu group for the construction of an international convention centre.
At its meeting here on Wednesday, the state Cabinet termed the agreement with Lulu as atrocious and decided to cancel it.
Land that is worth Rs 50 crore an acre was given away at a measly lease of Rs 4.51 lakh per month. Had that Rs 50 crore been deposited in a bank, it would have fetched Rs 2.5 crore as interest alone, it said in a note.
The project was proposed at a cost of over Rs 2,200 crore, which includes exhibition and meeting halls, parking places, five star hotel and retail mall in Public Private Partnership mode and was supposed to be completed in three years.
It was proposed under the Tourism Mission undertaken by the previous government which had chosen the Lulu group as the developer in July 2017 and allotted the land, including 3.4 acres belonging to a private firm.
The ruling YSR Congress, then in opposition, had strongly opposed the deal.
The cabinet note said the Chandrababu government had also taken 3.4 acres from a private entity and unjustifiably gave it more costly land as alternative in the heart of Visakhapatnam.
The TDP government grossly violated clear guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission in allotting land to Lulu group though it was the sole bidder, it alleged.
Accordingly, the Cabinet decided to cancel the allotment, the note said.
Also, the Cabinet scrapped the allocation of 498.93 acres of land at Jaggaiahpet in Krishna district to a fertiliser company owned by the kin of Chandrababu Naidu.
The previous TDP government had in July 2015 allotted the land to VBC Fertilisers owned by late TDP leader M V V S Murthy, a close relative of the party supremo and also actor Nandamuri Balakrishna.
Not only was the land given away at a throwaway price but all rules were flouted and it was brought into the capital region to jack up the price several fold, immensely benefitting the allottee, the Cabinet note said.
Setting up a chemical factory in the area would endanger the health of the local people. Hence, the allotment has been cancelled, the note added.

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First Published: Oct 30 2019 | 9:20 PM IST

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