The way Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu rejected the designs prepared by UK-based architectural firm Norman Fosters and Partners for the government buildings of Amaravati, the new capital of the state, surprised even the CMO officials and his own cabinet colleagues.

It was only a few days ago that the UK firm had presented the designs for two iconic structures – state legislature complex in the form of Kohinoor diamond and the state high court in the form of Buddha stupa – before Naidu and he made a few suggestions.

He told them that he would give a formal approval on Thursday so that he could lay foundation stone for the works by September 30, on Dasara day. The CRDA authorities had even issued a press release to that effect.

However, everything changed on Thursday when the Norman Foster representatives presented the final designs as per Naidu’s suggestions. But to their shock, he rejected the designs outright and even advised them to take the suggestions from Baahubali director S S Rajamouli.

He set a revised deadline of October 25 for the project and said he would personally visit London to inspect the designs.

This was naturally surprising to everybody, who wondered as to what could be the reason for Naidu’s change of mind.

Inquiries revealed that the main delay for approving the designs is lack of funds to take up construction.

Once the designs are approved, Naidu would have to issue notification for tenders for construction of the capital structures and the work will have to commence in October. It means, the government has to give mobilisation advances to the contractors.

But Naidu has no money. So, he has decided to defer the project as long as he can in the name of improvements in designs.

Sources said the construction is unlikely to commence even in January next year, unless the government gets some funds from the Centre.