Tirupati: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
finally broke the "Mannavaram jinx" on Wednesday by laying the
foundation-stone for the construction of the Rs 6,000 crore
power equipment manufacturing facility of NTPC-BHEL.
Everyone thought the joint venture project, the largest
public sector plant being set up in Andhra Pradesh after the
Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, was "jinxed" as Prime Minister
cancelled his trip at least four times in the last 14 months.
But Singh finally toured the Chittoor district of Andhra
Pradesh today to take part in a series of programmes,
including laying of foundation-stone for the long-delayed
The Prime Minister also visited the famous Tirumala hill
shrine of Lord Venkateswara and offered prayers there. It was
his second visit to the world`s richest temple in last five
In the evening, he also laid the foundation-stone for the
new Tirupati International Airport at Renigunta, a project
that too got delayed by two years.
Singh used the occasion to heap praise on late Chief
Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy for the "great love and
affection" that he had for the people of Andhra Pradesh.
"It is indeed a moment of pride for all of us and also an
occasion to pay tribute to a very tall leader from AP," the
Premier said, on the eve of the first anniversary of YSR`s
Singh noted that it was only the untiring efforts of
Rajasekhara Reddy that brought the Rs 6,000 crore NTPC-BHEL
project to the backward Chittoor district.
"It will stand testimony to the concern he (YSR) felt for
the welfare of his people," the Prime Minister added.
Even at the airport function, the Prime Minister recalled
Rajasekhara Reddy`s "love and concern for his people" and said
had he (YSR) would have been very happy to see the beginning
of the project for modernisation and upgradation of the
Incidentally, state Chief Minister K Rosaiah had to miss
the Prime Minister`s trip as he was down with viral fever and