Even as the proposal of constructing three capitals for Andhra Pradesh drew mixed reactions from across the state, the ruling YSRCP government is now mulling to increase the number of districts in the state from 13 to 25.
Speaking at an event in Visakhapatnam marking the birthday of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, his close aide and YSRCP MP Vijayasai Reddy, said that the number of districts in the state may go up to 25 very soon, in order to further decentralise governance in the state.
“Centralisation of governance and power is never good for the state. The CM has said, the 13 districts will be made 25, and all the 25 districts will see even development (sic). All the regions, including north coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema, the Godavari districts and the surrounding region will see even development,” Vijayasai Reddy said.
Vijayasai Reddy said that choosing Visakhapatnam to be the executive capital of the state was a historic decision. Jagan had recently announced that the state may soon have three capitals with separate functions. An expert committee comprising urban planning experts which was tasked with deciding the future course of capital development in the state had recommended the move, stating that it would aid decentralisation of governance and uniform development across the state.
The expert committee on the capital, headed by G Nageswara Rao, had also proposed the division of the state into four regions - North Coastal, South Coastal, Central Coastal and Rayalaseema - with Regional Commissionerates set up in each region. The committee suggested that power must be delegated from the head offices of departments to the Commissionerate, in order to make governance decentralised and more accessible to the people.
The decision to set up multiple capitals in Amaravati, Kurnool and Vizag has been met with mixed reactions. Farmers who had given up their land under the land pooling scheme, expecting developed plots in the capital in return, are strongly opposing the downsizing of Amaravati as solely the legislative capital.
Protests by these farmers have continued for four days, escalating after the G N Rao committee report was announced.