The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chandrababu builds road for Gates

Hyderabad, June 24: For Bill Gates, itís always one road ahead. But in Hyderabad, itís proving one too many.

A recent decision of the . Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet to sanction Rs 8 crore for a six-km road for easy access to the plot the state government has allotted to Microsoft has raised eyebrows.

Officials have criticised the administrationís bias. ďThe government has not provided such a facility to even public concerns and major industries. Even the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant had to lay its own road,Ē said a senior official in the Naidu administration.

The road grant comes on top of other largesse to the software tycoon, who last year decided to channel a major portion of Microsoftís $100-million initiative in India to Andhra Pradesh for combating AIDS.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also granted $25 million for a Hepatitis-B vaccination programme in the state.

Naidu, who had been vying with other chief ministers to attract investments from Microsoft for its global centre in Hyderabad, gave Bill and Melinda a royal reception when they visited Andhra last year.

As if in gratitude for the grants, the Naidu government allotted an additional 15 acres of prime land in Cyberabad district near the 42 acres it had already allocated for the global centre.

But Naiduís critics point out that though Microsoft announced that it would set up a mega centre in Cyberabad, it is still functioning from the 15-storey Cyber Towers in Hi-tech city.

According to sources in the IT department, Microsoft has also not brought in all the investment it had promised and nor has it provided employment to the number of people it said it would.

So government officials were surprised when the chief minister, ignoring official objections, sanctioned the money for the stretch to connect the Microsoft plot with the main road.

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