Andhra CM Jagan had proposed to make Amaravati the legislative capital, Vizag the administrative capital and Kurnool the judicial capital.

Andhra CM Jagan wants three capitals in the state but is it feasible
news Politics Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 21:14

Protests erupted in Amaravati after Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday suggested that the state could have three capitals in different regions for decentralization and prosperity of all the regions. Jagan proposed to make Amaravati the legislative capital, Vizag the administrative capital and Kurnool the judicial capital.

However, the farmers who had given their lands for capital region development in Amaravati expressed anger over this decision, while opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu slammed the move calling Jagan a “Tuqlaq”.

Since the YSRCP assumed power in April, there has been uncertainty over Amaravati being the capital. The World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) withdrew from the Capital Region Development project to develop Amaravati as the capital. 

The Jagan-led government had earlier in November appointed a committee headed by former IAS officer G Nageswara Rao to receive opinions and suggestions from people on the possibility of the state having three capitals. This report will be submitted shortly.

TNM spoke to three experts to weigh in on the feasibility of having three capitals.

Former IAS officer and Secretary to the Government of India, EAS Sarma said, “Making Amaravati the legislative capital, Vizag the administrative capital and Kurnool the judicial capital partially restores regional balance in governance. However, centralised governance, whether it is legislative, administrative or judicial, has its disadvantages.”

Sarma argued that if the CM had requested the Supreme Court to locate benches of the High Court one each in each of the three regions and set up an administrative sub-centre in each region, taking advantage of modern communications facilities, he would have set an excellent example of decentralised governance. “The legislative capital can rotate among the three regions,” he said.

Sarma, however, believed that having an executive capital in Vizag would be unwise, as it has constraints of water scarcity, traffic problem and land availability. “It is almost as challenging a task as constructing the new capital city at Amaravati.”

Similarly, Jaya Prakash Narayana, Loksatta party chief and a staunch advocate for decentralization said, “One city need not be concentrated with the administration, it should be decentralized.”

“My view is that people should have no need to visit the capital for any work, we need district-level governance.” However, he noted that development would be possible only if we have a big city. “Investors would come only to big cities”. Making a case for not abandoning the development of Amaravati, Jaya Prakash said, the aim should be decentralization which would organically help the progress of the state.

Political observer, K Nageswara Rao, however differed from the others stating, “Development decentralization is different from seat of government decentralization. What the government is doing is seat of government decentralization. It is a distortion to the argument of decentralization.”

Jagan had argued that the decision of three capitals was considered to fulfill the aspirations of the people of all regions. Rao, however, said, “There were no protests except in Kurnool where they demanded courts. The people of Vizag never protested demanding the capital to be shifted there."

He argued that High Court, Assembly and Secretariat should be at one place as it would prove a costly affair with “recurring expenditure.”

Calling the idea unfeasible, he said, “For instance: The Assembly would be in Amaravati and Secretariat would be in Vizag. If Assembly session happens, all the officers should be relocated to Amaravati until the session concludes. Similarly, all the officers would daily have to attend some case or the other, so they would have to go to Kurnool every day-- and which officer would be in Vizag? Who will bear these travel expenses? Isn’t it a recurring expenditure?” he questioned. 

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