The Andhra Pradesh High Court has further extended the status quo on the ruling YSRCP government’s move to decentralise the capital, to August 27. This prevents the state government from taking any steps on the issue until further orders. In a previous hearing, the court had extended the stay till August 14.
Farmers from Amaravati, which was promised to be developed into a massive capital region: along with others, challenged the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 in AP High Court. Both of these bills were approved by Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan on July 31 and on the same day, the government issued a gazette notification.
Following this, there were protests in Amaravati by farmers to protect their interests, who demanded that the government must scrap the proposal.
The government plans to develop Visakhapatnam as the executive capital. With the shifting of the offices of the Chief Minister, Governor, ministers and secretaries to the coastal city, it will essentially become the seat of power. The government has decided to develop Kurnool as the judicial capital by shifting the High Court there.
Amaravati, which was originally planned as the only state capital and a world-class city by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s predecessor N Chandrababu Naidu, will serve as a mere legislative capital, as the state legislature meets for barely 50 to 60 days a year.
The move by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has triggered distress among several farmer families who had given 33,000 acres of land under a land pooling scheme. When the land was acquired under the TDP government, it had promised to build Amaravati on the banks of Krishna river as a ‘dream capital’ and a world-class city. For every acre of cultivable land pooled, the farmers were promised 1,000 square yards of residential plots and 250 square yards of commercial plots with developed infrastructure. They were also promised Rs 50,000 annuity per acre with annual hike of 10%, until they got their lands back.
However, all construction activity, which was at its peak before elections last year, came to a grinding halt with the change of guard.