In a major development, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet on Friday deferred the decision to announce the proposed decentralisation of the state's capital, after a two-hour long meeting.
An expert committee headed by G N Rao, which was constituted by the YSRCP government to decide the fate of the capital, had announced earlier this month that it had recommended three capitals for the state -- a legislative capital in Amaravati, an executive one in Visakhapatnam and a judicial capital in Kurnool.
Another committee report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is due to be submitted in the first week of January. The state cabinet has now decided to form a high-level committee to go through both reports, and take a final decision.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Information & Public Relations(I&PR) Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Perni Nani) said that the cabinet had taken several decisions, and also discussed the GN Rao committee report in detail.
"We are yet to receive the report by the BCG. The state government will form a high-level committee to go through the two reports thoroughly before a final decision is taken," he said.
Perni Nani also lashed out at the earlier Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government for going ahead with its plans for Amaravati, ignoring the Sivarama Krishnan Committee that was constituted by the Home Ministry, which had expressed fears about the capital coming up along the fertile banks of the river Krishna.
Ahead of the meeting, unprecedented security arrangements had been made in Amaravati region, particularly in Mandadam village and the roads leading to the Secretariat at Velagapudi in view of the ongoing protests by farmers against the move to shift the executive capital to port city Visakhapatnam.
Earlier in the day, mild tension prevailed at Uddandarayunipalem in Amaravati as a group of around 30 to 40 people gathered at the spot and vandalised a car with sticks and broke the windows. A TV9 anchor Deepti, was also heckled by the crowd, before the police stepped in and brought the situation under control.
Bapatla MP Nandigam Suresh condemned the attack.
Meanwhile, BJP state President Kanna Lakshmi Narayana also held a 'silent protest' to register his dissent against the government's move to decentralise the capital. Kanna sat in protest for an hour, at the foundation stone for Amaravati laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and lamented that Jagan had not listened to the appeals of the protesting farmers.
To pacify the protests that could likely break out after the final decision, Municipal Administration Minister Botcha Satyanarayana on Thursday had said that farmers who gave up their land for the development of Amaravati need not worry as the government was committed to honouring all the promises made to them.
He said Central funds would be secured to develop the land given by farmers.
"We will develop an Information Technology hub in Amaravati on the lines Visakhapatnam. An education hub will also be developed," the Minister had said.