Responding to BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao's query on "confusion" over the capital of Andhra Pradesh, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said the state government has the right to take a decision on the capital city.

Buddha statue in Amaravati: Amaravati remains capital of Andhra for now, Union Minister tells Rajya SabhaWikimedia Commons/iMahesh
news Governance Wednesday, February 02, 2022 - 15:55
Written by  PTI

Amaravati remains the capital city of Andhra Pradesh and it is learnt that the state government has withdrawn a law to create three capital cities, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, February 2. The minister, during the Question Hour in the Upper House, also said the division of assets between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, can be speedily undertaken with mutual agreement and the Union government can only act as a coordinating agency. 

Responding to BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao's query on "confusion" over the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, the minister said the state government has the right to take a decision on creating a capital city.

On April 23, 2015, the Andhra Pradesh government had declared Amaravati as its capital. However in July 2020, the state through a law notified three capital cities -- Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool, he said. "However through newspapers, we have learnt that this has been withdrawn and a decision on creating three capital cities or one capital will be taken after a review. Right now, Amaravati is the capital as notified by the state government," he noted.

YSRCP leader Vijayasai Reddy asked if the government can speed up the division of assets worth Rs 1,42,601 crore listed under the scheduled 9 and 10 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. To this, the minister said, "We cannot give direction but can only act as a coordinating agency."

There are institutions listed under Schedule 9 of the AP Reorganisation Act, for which a committee was formed. It came up with a list of 90 institutions, out of which, Telangana said it has no objection towards 68 institutions. But Andhra Pradesh agreed for 33 institutions out of 68, he said. Further, the minister said under Schedule 10 of the Act, there are 112 training institutions. But there is no provision for division of these assets under Section 75.

However, the Andhra Pradesh government wants to divide these assets according to the population, while Telangana wants it based on the location. The Attorney General of India is of the view that there is no provision for such division, he said.

"The Home Ministry gives direction regularly to mutually agree to resolve the issue be it under Schedule 9 or 10 or other issues. There can be a decision on this based on mutual agreement," he noted.

The minister mentioned that the Union government has released Rs 35,730 crore to Andhra Pradesh and Rs 2385 crore to Telangana after state bifurcation in 2014.

Responding to another query by BJP leader TG Venkatesh, who sought the Union government’s intervention to stop Telangana from using water from its project on downstream of Srisailam project for power generation and irrigation, the minister said: "I have told you earlier we work as a coordinating agency and the Jal Shakti Ministry especially looks into such matters."

So far 26 meetings have been held under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary. The issue will be taken up in the next meeting, he added.

Venkatesh also asked if the Union government could intervene to clear the pending power bills to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore, including interest, from the Telangana government towards Andhra Pradesh. The minister replied that the issue is related to pending power bills between two states.

Many times, the issue gets resolved mutually, he said. "If it does not, we will take inputs from the state and take action. We are only a coordinating agency and cannot take any decision. We will consider it if you have any suggestions," he added.

The minister said that the Union government is concerned about the overall development of the country including Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

To a BJP leader CM Ramesh's suggestion that the Union Home Minister should call a meeting of the two Chief Ministers to resolve the issues, the minister said, "The Home Minister has urged both states to resolve the issues mutually. His suggestion is good and we also wish the same."

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