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In what could be a jolt to the development of the region, the Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri (VGTM) Urban Development Authority has failed to implement the IT Special Economic Zone project granted by the Centre within the stipulated time-frame. Indicting the UDA for its failure to take up the project on time, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) observed that there was neither clarity nor commitment among different government agencies to implement it.

An IT SEZ was granted to VGTM UDA in 2007 at an estimated cost of Rs 880 crore. The Centre, however, asked the local body to complete the project within three years after granting licence.

VGTM UDA wasted six months before inviting request for proposals (RFPs) in March 2008. Surprisingly, a letter of acceptance (LoA) was issued to a private firm in January 2009 after the expiry of the bid validity period and performance guarantee term.

Citing the global downturn and the delay by the UDA in clearing approvals, the firm which won the bid refused to take up the project. "As the project was not implemented within the stipulated three years, the approval granted by the GoI for setting up the SEZ became invalid as per the SEZ rules," pointed out the CAG.

The anticipated benefits of the proposed SEZ such as employment generation, overall development of the area and development of tier-II cities like Vijayawada as envisaged in the state government's IT policy could not be derived, it said. Curiously, the UDA blamed another government agency, APITCO, for the delay in preparing the blueprint for the project.

The CAG also made adverse remarks on the functioning of the UDA in taking up developmental projects.