Gulf-based Lulu Group has vowed not to invest in Andhra Pradesh again after the Jagan Mohan Reddy government cancelled the land allotted by the previous TDP government for setting up an international convention centre in Visakhapatnam. The group stated that they accept the decision of the YSRCP government to scrap the land allotment, but asserted that the company was allotted the land in Visakhapatnam in a transparent manner.
“We had participated in a very transparent bidding process and were awarded the land on lease for this project. Though we have incurred huge expenses towards initial project development costs such as appointing internationally renowned consultants and designing the project by world-class architects, we agree to the decision of the new Government of Andhra Pradesh to revoke the land allotment for this project. Given the current scenario, we have decided not to invest in any new projects in the state of Andhra Pradesh,” Ananth Ram, Lulu Group’s Director for India, said in a press statement.
Earlier, announcing the cancellation of agreement, Andhra Pradesh minister Perni Venkataramaiah reportedly said the land was allotted unethically by the TDP government. “The TDP government did not invite global tenders and gave away the land to Lulu Group because of their proximity to the former CM. Lulu group was favoured and land was allotted in contravention of central and state rules. The land was also given at Rs 4 lakh per acre while the market value is much higher,’’ he said.
Lulu Group had projected to invest Rs 2,200 crore in Andhra Pradesh, including the international convention centre, a shopping mall and a five-star hotel. The company estimates that the projects would have employed about 7,000 local youth. “At the same time, we wish to reconfirm that our investments in upcoming projects in the other states of Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will go ahead as per schedule,” Ram said.
Ever since he assumed power in May, the Jagan Reddy government has been on a cancellation spree of projects approved by the previous Chandrababu Naidu government. Subsequently, the AP government revoked the 13.83 acres of land allotted to Lulu Group.