Amaravati: Amid protests by opposition leaders and farmers, the Andhra Pradesh assembly late on Monday passed a bill aimed at setting up three capitals in the state.
Speaking about the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill, 2020, Chief Minister Jagan Reddy said: “In the history of AP, today is a very important day. Since the formation of the new state in 2014, many things happened, including historical mistakes by the TDP government. Since Independence, we lost capital almost six times and we are the only state in the country to undergo these circumstances. Even as per the Bifurcation Act, despite having Hyderabad as the common capital city for 10 years, we lost it due to the mistakes of Chandrababu Naidu.”
Reddy said the 1937 Sribagh Pact also clearly discussed where to place the capital, high court and accordingly Kurnool was declared the capital city in 1953 and retained the title till 1956. “Similarly, in 2014, the Justice Srikrishna Committee studied various aspects of the Human Development Index and recommended that the decentralisation of development is needed. The committee further stated that development in one place is leading to inequalities and emergence of backward regions,” he said.
The chief minister also accused his predecessor Naidu of lying about the Sivaramakrishnan committee report. “The committee clearly opposed the construction of super capital in Amaravati region and suggested decentralisation of all departments to extend governance to all 13 districts. The committee also stated that the capital need not be in the middle of the state.”
He added, “Srikrishna and Sivaramakrishnan committee reports clearly recommended decentralisation. Today, we are not in a position to invest Rs 1 lakh crore on the construction of a capital alone. In order to supply drinking water to the Rayalaseema region and to fulfill agricultural needs, we have to complete the construction of irrigation projects, which require almost Rs 30,000 crore. For providing better healthcare facilities and education through government institutions, we need Rs 26,000 crore. Apart from these, every district requires basic facilities and to establish them, at least Rs 500 crore for each municipality is required.”
Reddy said he could not cheat people with graphics and false claims and with just 10 per cent of the Amaravati expenditure, “we can develop Visakhapatnam, which is already a top city in the state. The priorities of the state are more important than the iconic buildings and capital expenditure”.
He also assured Amaravati farmers that the government was not against the region and the capital city was not shifting.
“No injustice will be done to Amaravati but we are serving justice to others,” he said and added that the legislative assembly would remain in Amaravati and laws would be enacted here. “We are adding two more capital cities — Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital,” he said, adding that the Secretariat would come up in Visakhapatnam.
Reddy announced that the 10-year annuity term for compensation of Amaravati farmers would be extended to 15 years. “Benefitting 21,000 families in 29 villages who don’t have land, the pension amount will be increased to Rs 5,000 from the existing Rs 2,500. The TDP government grabbed lands under land pooling from SC, ST, and minorities. They were given less area of house land. All that will be changed now. Amaravati will be developed in all aspects and the government will transform it into a great city.”