The Andhra Pradesh government’s recent decisions on industries came into sharp focus again with reports in a section of Telugu and social media claiming that big ticket investor, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is moving out of the State. This was strongly denied by the Government.
The reports suggested flight of capital with APP, one of the big Foreign Direct Investment company and subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia, withdrawing its proposed investments worth ₹ 24,000 crore from the State. The report said it would be another day for people of the State to “digest soar truth”, of losing 5,000 jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs. The report recalled that a MoU was signed between previous Telugu Desam Government and APP and 2,500 acres was allotted for the project at Ravuru in Prakasam district.
At a hurriedly called press conference, the Industries and IT Minister, Mekapati Gautam Reddy said reports of APP moving out were false and motivated. He asked people not to believe such reports and said the Government would turn Andhra Pradesh into a favourite destination for investments . “The Government would come out with a new robust industrial policy in two to three months time. We will attract investments offering industries lot of incentives,” he said.
Earlier in the day in a press note, a top official of Industries, Infrastructure, Investment and Commerce Department said: “The present government is in active contact with the senior management of Asia Pulp and Paper Company on regular basis assisting them in making their final investment decision in Andhra Pradesh”. He dismissed reports of APP moving out of AP as “absolutely false and malicious propaganda being spread by sections of social media”. The Government, he said, reserved the right to takeaction on the perpetrators of such misinformation.
Such reports have been doing the rounds ever since the new Government brought about radical policy changes like reserving 75% jobs for locals in industries and announced review PPAs, both perceived by sections of industry as not very investor-friendly.
Sectors like IT industry have expressed doubts over quota for locals, but the Government likened it to a similar rising demand in the U.S. and said there were adequate safeguards. These include a three-year period for training local candidates and provision of exemptions if local candidates were not available.