Amaravati: The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh renewed efforts to bring the Reliance electronics park project back on track after it remained in cold storage for almost two years.
The project is expected to bring-in an investment of Rs 15,000 crore and create thousands of jobs and position AP as a leading State in electronics manufacturing, authorities pursuing it revealed. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio signed a memorandum of understanding with the State government during the Partnership Summit on February 25, 2018, for establishing an electronics park in Chittoor district to manufacture mobile phones and set-top boxes, with an investment of Rs 15,000 crore.
The park, when fully operational, was expected to provide employment to over 15,000 people. As a pre-condition to setting up the electronics park, the telecom giant wanted the State government to promote clusters of educational institutions like ITIs and diploma colleges in the vicinity to create employment right after education.
The company also asked the government to develop a workmen housing corridor in the vicinity of Tirupati Growth Corridor. It also sought other concessions under the AP Electronics Policy 2014-20 over power tariff and refund of State GST for 10 years. Officials estimated that the workmen housing corridor alone would cost about Rs 500 crore for such a huge workforce while setting up ITIs and diploma colleges essentially as skill development centres required another few crores.
As the State was pushed into a virtual political turmoil days after the MoU was signed following TDP’s pull out from the NDA, and also due to the ‘precarious’ financial position of the government, “the Reliance proposal was relegated to the cold storage,” a senior official in the Information Technology Department recalled. Though the State government allotted about 136 acres of land for the project, the transfer could not fully materialise due to court litigation, with some farmers securing a stay on acquisition, demanding higher monetary compensation.
“As many as 15 writ petitions were filed by the farmers due to which the land could not be utilised for the intended purpose. The AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation has now identified alternative land for the Reliance project,” State Industry and Information Technology Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy noted. The Minister held discussions with Reliance representatives recently and assured them the government was committed to providing land free of litigation for the project. Asked about Reliance’s preconditions that are required to be fulfilled for the project to take off, a top official involved in the negotiations said the state government was committed to providing skill development training and also take up industrial housing.
“Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is very keen on developing industrial housing where required. We are drawing up plans accordingly. Skill development centres will also come up simultaneously,” the official added. The other concessions, he pointed out, were routine in nature as per the existing policy. “Tirupati Growth Corridor already has a well-developed ecosystem related to electronics. The Reliance project will give a further boost to it and help AP emerge as a leader in electronics manufacturing,” the official noted.