Amaravati: Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, who had written to the Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy requesting that the 'Praja Vedika' be declared as 'residence annex' of the Leader of Opposition on Wednesday could soon face flak for this.
The building was constructed in violation of the River Conservation Act and other environmental laws during Chandrababu's tenure and now asking permission for the residence annexe to be used for official purpose has led to widespread criticism in the official circles. Interestingly the letter comes even as the former chief minister has not yet been formally declared as the Leader of Opposition.
Chandrababu's residence was allegedly built by the AP Capital Region Development Authority after he took charge as Chief Minister when he needed a place to operate from. Another reason for this hurried decision to relocate to Undavalli was the TDP chief's decision to leave Hyderabad after the case-for-vote scandal erupted. Chandrababu's close aides zeroed in on a bungalow on the banks of river Krishna in Undavalli village to house his makeshift residence. The bungalow was actually a guest house owned by infrastructure giant Lingamaneni group, which is considered to be close to him.
The structure was illegally constructed in violation of the River Conservation Act and in 2015. Incidentally, the district administration had also served a notice on Lingamaneni Estates owner Lingamaneni Ramesh, as the bungalow was encroaching on course of the river.
Despite the notice, a high-level team accompanied by the personal Vastu consultant of Chandrababu inspected the bungalow and deemed it as ideal for him to stay in.
The district administration as per the instructions by the chief minister's office (CMO) immediately took up the renovation works on a war footing. Vijayawada municipal commissioner G Veerapandian, senior officials from the roads and buildings department and Guntur district collector Kantilal Dande at the time had carried out the renovation work.
With the residence itself being an illegal construction, Chandrababu had also constructed an official building abutting the residence. Since there was not enough space to conduct official meetings in his 'makeshift' residence, which comprised two big halls, a home theatre, four bedrooms and a huge space for additional rooms for the CM's staff and a mini-conference hall, the Praja Vedika was built.
The building constructed on the banks of river Krishna, also flouted the River Conservation Act norms, and was built by the Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) for Rupees Five Crores. There were no tenders called for and the project was directly granted to the NCC with permission from the then CRDA Commissioner.
Now what comes as shocking is the fact that Chandrababu seeking permission for this building which was built in violation of environmental norms. He was also criticised by environmentalists and civil activists for living in a residence that flouted basic norms, but to no avail.
During the assembly sessions when YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was the Leader of the Opposition, he questioned as to how Chandrababu could live in an illegal construction .Chandrababu explained that the Government had seized the building and he was using it as his residence. However, in the letter written to the CMO's office on Wednesday, Chandrababu claims that the residence was a private one and he was seeking the Praja Vedika to be used for official purposes in his capacity as a leader of the opposition.
In a clear case of conflicting statements made by the TDP chief, where in the assembly he states that it is a government building, but now he chooses to call it a private residence.
Also Read: Chandrababu’s Request To YS Jagan