Strange as it might sound, the Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh is spending Rs 178 crore for levelling nearly 600 acres of land acquired from farmers at a cost of Rs 63 crore!
This is the way the Naidu government is misusing the public money. According to a media report, the state government has acquired nearly 600 acres of land from 420 farmers belonging to four villages of Penukonda constituency and allotted the same to a South Koran company Kia Motors to establish a car manufacturing unit.
The farmers were paid a compensation of nearly Rs 63 crore at the rate of Rs 10.50 lakh per acre, which is quite reasonable in the given drought conditions over there.
So far so good. Instead of handing over the land as it is to the Korean company, the state government has decided to level the entire piece of land and hand over the same to Kia Motors in a ready-to-build condition.
Accordingly, the government called for tenders inviting reputed companies to take up the work. The pre-condition for filing the bid was that the bidders should have done works worth not less than Rs 780 crore in a year.
As a result, only two companies – L&T and NCC – got qualified in the technical bid and in the financial bid, the L&T bagged the contract by quoting around Rs 178 crore, a little less than the other bidder. This has surprised the locals as well as other contractors, as the cost of levelling is almost three times the cost of land itself.
“The land was under cultivation and does not contain any hills or big trees. At the most, it would cost Rs 25 crore to Rs 30 crore for levelling, but not Rs 178 crore,” a local contractor observed.
The media report suspected that there was a scam of not less than Rs 150 crore in the land levelling, with bribes being paid to ruling party bigwigs from top to bottom.