AP minister flip flops on Amaravati, says expert committee will decide capital

On Friday, Minister Botcha Satyanarayana said in the Assembly that there were no plans to shift the capital but changed statement on Saturday.
AP minister flip flops on Amaravati, says expert committee will decide capital
AP minister flip flops on Amaravati, says expert committee will decide capital
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A day after stating that there are no plans to shift the state capital from Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh’s Municipal Administration minister Botcha Satyanarayana on Saturday said a decision on where to set up the state capital will be taken based on an expert committee report.

Earlier on Friday, responding a query in the state Assembly, raised by TDP members P Samanthakamani, G Deepak Reddy and Paruchuru Ashok Babu, the minister for Municipal Administration, Botcha, had said there were no plans to shift the capital from Amaravati. However, on Saturday speaking to media, he stated, “We can only tell about the capital city after the expert committee submits its report.”

In November, the state government appointed a committee, headed by retired IAS officer G Nageswara Rao, to receive opinions and suggestions from people on the project. The committee was to submit its report within six weeks.

The minister also stated that in the Assembly, there was no supplementary question asked by the TDP leaders during the Question Hour and there was no further discussion on the subject.

Botcha’s statement on Saturday comes in an attempt to clarify his remark in the Assembly, where he said that “Amaravati looks like a burial ground”. He clarified that he made the statement to only highlight the state of affairs at Amaravati.

He stressed that the government would protect the interests of farmers in the capital region. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had directed the officials to complete the under-construction buildings in Amaravati, he added.

The Minister has given out varying statements over the issue of the state capital. In some instances, the minister stated that the Amaravati was not suitable for large-scale construction activities, and at another point, he said the state has to spend Rs 12,000 per square feet more in Amaravati due to the soil type.

Since coming to power in May, the YSRCP government has been mulling over finding a new capital for the state. The party alleges that the former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu went ahead with the development of Amaravati despite a committee advising the government against it due to floods threat.

In June, the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) withdrew from the Amaravati project. Both the financial institutions together were to pump in $500 million into the project.

Botcha, speaking to media, also added that elections to all municipalities in the state will be held in February next year. A metro rail project in Vishkapatanam is also in the pipeline and is expected to be executed in two phases, reported TNIE.

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