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Was Lulu Group Media Statement Planted?

Was Lulu Group Media Statement Planted?

A statement purported to have been made by UAE-based Lulu Group International and published by some sections of media, including national media, raised many an eyebrow.

In the statement which was circulated in the media through WhatsApp, a representative of Lulu Group said the company had decided not to invest in any new projects in Andhra Pradesh hereafter, the wake of the given scenario.

As if giving a snub to the YSR Congress party government, the Lulu group representative said: “At the same time, we wish to reconfirm that our investments in upcoming projects in the other states i.e., Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will go ahead as per schedule.”

Lulu Group was allotted 13.82 acres of land by the Chandrababu Naidu government in February 2018 at the beach road of Visakhapatnam to build an International Convention Centre, Shopping Mall and a Five-Star Hotel project at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore.

However, soon after coming to power, the Jagan government stopped the project and on October 30, his cabinet decided to cancel the agreement and take back the land from the Lulu group, as the government felt the land allotment was made arbitrarily and it involved huge scam.

The company claimed that it had bagged the project in a very transparent bidding process and the contract was awarded the land on lease for this project. 

While the Lulu Group has every right to get upset and take a decision not to invest in AP, the manner the press statement was sent to select media houses through WhatsApp evoked suspicion. 

“If a company gets its contract terminated, it will quietly walk out of the project and it can take any decision on future investments. But this particular group selectively leaked to a section of media to plant its decision so as to send a message to other investors that AP is not an ideal place for investments. Definitely, there is some malicious intention behind this press statement,” a source in the government said.

If the company wants to make any comment on scrapping of contract, it should give an open statement, as was done by the Singapore government in case of the Amaravati start-up area project. But the Lulu group chose to leak the info selectively to the media, the source pointed out.

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