The State has finally bagged the Rs. 6,000-crore NTPC-BHEL power equipment manufacturing unit, after days of anxious wait, with Union Minister for Heavy Industries Vilasrao Deshmukh adding to the confusion by stating that no decision has been taken by the Centre on the location. It will now to be set up at Mannavaram, in Chittoor district.

The bagging of the prestigious project, to manufacture boilers and turbines, is being viewed as a major success to its efforts, as Rajasthan was stated to have made a strong bid for its location.

A press release issued on Saturday by the Chief Minister's Office said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would lay the foundation for the project when during his visit to Tirupati on September 5 and 6. He would unveil the stone at 10.05 a.m. and that of the Tirupati international airport at 12.05 p.m. on September 6.

The two functions would be attended by Union Minister for Power Sushil Kumar Shinde, Minister for Civil Aviation and Praful Patel besides Mr. Deshmukh.The release quoted Dr. Reddy as saying that the Mannavaram project would be a milestone in the State's development, as it would provide direct employment to about 6,000 persons and indirect employment to 30,000, besides leading to establishment of 400 ancillary industries.

While describing the project's location as an instance of the Centre's goodwill for the State, he thanked Dr. Singh and AICC president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on behalf of the Telugu people.The Chief Minister attributed the success of the State in securing the project to its 'efficiency' and *contribution to the UPA's strength'. He telephoned Dr. Singh on Saturday to convey his thanks for the Centre's gesture.

Dr. Reddy recalled that 750 acres of land had been allotted for the project. He said that the prestigious project was coming to the State with the blessing of the Lord of Seven Hills, who, he said always played his hand in giving the green signal to any scheme aimed at people's welfare. Hence he was dedicating the Mannavaram unit to Lord Venkateswara.

Keywords: NTPCBHELAndhra Pradesh