Amaravati May Lose Throne to Vizag as Andhra Govt to Push Through 3-Capital Plan in Assembly Today

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Assembly will hold a special session on Monday to decide on the dilution of Amaravati’s status as the sole state capital by shifting some key functions to Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.

The session is likely to pass a resolution for decentralisation of the state capital despite protests and warning from TDP supremo and former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu that about Rs 50,000 crore committed investment could be withdrawn and also make farmers suffer if the plan goes through.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy government proposes to shift the state Secretariat and the Chief Minister's office to Visakhapatnam and the High Court to Kurnool.

Ignoring objections by opposition parties and farmers, who had given 33,000 acres of land for development of Amaravati in 2015, the YSR Congress Party government has not budged on the proposal.

The government reportedly plans to repeal the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act, 2014. All the rules, notifications and government orders issued under the CRDA Act, which sought to develop some 33,000 acres in the capital region of Amaravati, would cease to exist.

The areas covered under the CRDA would be vested with the VGTM (Vijaywada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri) Urban Development Authority. The government may also announce a package to compensate the farmers who may suffer losses.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the Assembly session. Police are maintaining tight vigil in all 29 villages where farmers have been staging protest for last 33 days. There is massive security presence at Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada, where Section 144 has been imposed along with Guntur areas.

Amaravati was the brainchild of Chandrababu Naidu, who lost power to the YSRCP in May last year. The new government has alleged irregularities by the previous regime in awarding contracts and allotting prime lands to those close to the then chief minister. The TDP chief has denied any "irregularities" in the decision-making for Amaravati as capital, asserting that he does not have any "vested interest" in Amaravati.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the assembly session, Naidu condemned the house arrest of opposition leaders and protesters.

“House arrest of party leaders and Amaravati JAC leaders is condemnable. Suppression of public voice is undemocratic and against the Constitution. Even during the Emergency, it was much better,” he said.