The committee also recommended the setting up of four Regional Commisionerates in the state, which would have powers delegated from head offices.

Andhra expert committee suggests three capitals in Kurnool Vizag and AmaravatiImage: Andhra Chief Minister's Office
news Controversy Saturday, December 21, 2019 - 08:34

Even as protests in Amaravati continue against the proposal for three capitals in Andhra Pradesh, the expert committee appointed by the government to decide the fate of the capital has announced its recommendations. Speaking to reporters, the head of the committee G Nageswara Rao said that the committee has suggested the government to set up three capitals in Amaravati, Kurnool and Visakhapatnam for different functions, as mentioned by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy earlier this week.

ā€œThe Amaravati-Mangalagiri complex can have a High Court bench, the Legislative Assembly will remain, along with the Ministersā€™ quarters, Governorā€™s quarters etc. The Vizag metropolitan region can also have a High Court bench, a Legislative Assembly for the summer, the Secretariat and the Chief Ministerā€™s Camp Office. In Kurnool, in accordance with the Sribagh Pact and peopleā€™s demands, the High Court can be established,ā€ Nageswara Rao said.

With the expert committee releasing the report, the YSRCP government can now cite its recommendations and move ahead with its plan of developing three capitals in the state.

The committee has also recommended decentralising of administration by organising the state into four distinct regions. In order to move towards decentralised administration, the committee has proposed that the 13 districts of the state be organised into four regions ā€” the North Coastal region (Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam), the Central Coastal region (East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna), the South Central region (Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore) and Rayalaseema (Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool, Anantapur). Rao also suggested the formation of Regional Commissionerates, adding that powers can be delegated to the Commissionerate from the Head Office of departments. 

In November, the government appointed the five-member committee, comprising of urban planning experts and headed by Nageswara Rao, a retired IAS officer, to receive opinions and suggestions from people on the capital project. Urban Development Minister Botcha Satyanarayana has said that the status of the capital will depend on the expert committee report. ā€œWe have received nearly 38,000 representations. I have spoken to at least 2000 farmers myself. I have strongly recommended that the farmers must be returned the  developed plots in Amaravati,ā€ Rao said. He also stated that the committeeā€™s recommendations have been made keeping in mind the uniform development of the state, and accounting for the financial resources available to the government. 

The committee has also noted that parts of the Tullur region in Amaravati are flood-prone, and constructions in such areas must be avoided. ā€œThe state government has invested a lot in Tullur region, and the resources must be used and developed by various department.s But the flood prone areas must be avoided,ā€ Rao said.

Rao also mentioned that the report advises to focus on ā€˜longitudinalā€™ and ā€˜horizontalā€™ development. ā€œLongitudinally, from Srikakulam to Chittoor, there are 900 kms of roads. Urban settlements can be developed by the side of these roads. Horizontally, we have rivers like Godavari, Vamsadhara, Nagavali, Mahendratanaya and Krishna rivers. The river bases can be used for urban settlements,ā€ he said.

Meanwhile, protests by farmers and landowners from the capital region against the decentralisation of capital has entered the third day. Protesters took to organising ā€˜vanta varpuā€™, cooking meals on the streets and blocking the road in many villages, including Mandadam and Velagapudi. The protesting farmers have demanded that Amaravati must remain the sole capital of the state, in spite of reassurances of returning developed plots in exchange for the pooled land as previously promised. 

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