The controversial proposal to trifurcate Andhra Pradesh’s capital into three has got Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichand’s assent on Friday. The bill, which is called AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, has now passed a crucial stage.
Two bills -- AP Decentralisation And Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2020 -- were sent to the Governor by the Assembly Secretariat. The first is related to the decentralisation of the administration by establishing executive capital at Vishakhapatnam in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh, the legislature in Amaravati and judicial capital in Kurnool, located in the Rayalaseema region. The other bill was regarding abolition of Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) that was created during the TDP regime. It was the CRDA that was entrusted with the responsibility of building the capital in Amaravati.
This would effectively mean that the primary capital functions of the state will now be shifted from the Amaravati-Vijayawada region to Visakhapatnam.
The two bills were previously passed in the Assembly but remained stalled in the Legislative Council, where the TDP holds a majority. The Council had referred the bills to the Select Committee. However, things did not move ahead on that front, and the bills were introduced once again in the Assembly in June. With the Council failing to pass the bills once again, they were referred to the Governor a month after they were stalled in the Council for a second time.
The YSRCP government took this step referring to Article 197 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, which deals with “restriction on powers of Legislative Council as to Bills other than Money Bills.”
The bills reached the Governor’s office on July 18. The TDP had written to the Governor requesting him against giving his assent to the three capital bill. The floor leader in the Legislative Council Yanamala Ramakrishnudu requested the governor to seek opinion from the Solicitor General of India.
Earlier on July 23, the Andhra Pradesh High Court adjourned the hearing of a petition against the reintroduction of the capital bills to August. The HC bench had said that multiple petitions related to the capital issue which had been filed by TDP leaders and farmer organisations would be heard together on August 6, asking the state government to file a counter before that. With petitioner and TDP MLC Deepak Reddy expressing concern that the Governor might approve the bills by then, the court had reportedly assured that such a scenario will be taken into consideration at the hearing.