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AP abandons plans for F1 track
Syed Amin Jafri | July 15, 2004 17:27 IST
The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday announced it is abandoning its plans for a Formula One racetrack on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The formal announcement came during question hour in the State Assembly.
Replying to a question posed by Congress member P Janardhan Reddy, Minister for Revenue Dharmana Prasada Rao said, "No further steps will be taken to pursue this project since it is not a priority for us."
He said the Congress government, which assumed office in mid-May after the recent Assembly elections, decided against allotting land for a Formula One race track at Gopanpally in Seri Lingampally area of Rangareddy district. Neither would government or private lands be acquired for the project, he added.
Stating that the previous Telugu Desam government was keen to have a Formula One racetrack, he alleged that the then chief minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, his ministerial colleagues and officials wasted crores of rupees of the taxpayers' money on foreign trips to woo the promoters of Formula One.
While Naidu, his colleagues and officials went to Italy and witnessed the Formula One race and held talks with Bernie Ecclestone and other Formula
One officials there, another team visited London to pursue the project.
The previous government held preliminary talks with Formula One promoters and assured them that land and other infrastructural facilities would be provided. The Formula One promoters even extracted a commitment from Naidu that the government would compensate the company if the revenues from the racing event fell short of the target to meet the expenses.
The Revenue Minister said even a cabinet sub-committee was set up for the previous government for land acquisition and provision of infrastructural support for the project. However, no orders were issued for land acquisition. The project required over 1,000 acres of land and the project cost was estimated at Rs 1,197 crore.
"This (Formula One project) is not a priority for us. We have no proposals for acquisition of land for the project which is meant for holding races for just three days in an year for a period of seven years.
"We are not prepared to invest in such non-priority projects. We don't want to burden ourselves by investing in such projects that don't benefit the common man," Prasada Rao said.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage