The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday ordered status quo on the state capital. This order bars the state government from taking any steps on the two Bills approved by the Governor for trifurcation of the capital.
Taking up for hearing petitions challenging the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, the court adjourned the hearing till August 14 after the state government sought 10 days time to file a counter to the petitions.
Prasad Babu, counsel for one of the petitioners, said the order meant the state government can't take any step on a gazette notification for trifurcation of the state capital.
Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan on July 31 approved the two Bills and the same day, the government issued the gazette notification.
On Tuesday, a large number of farmers, including women, stood with folded hands on either side of the Seed Access Road, which is the road that connects Vijayawada to Amaravati, when the judges were passing through the area to the High Court. The move was part of a symbolic protest.
Petitions filed by some farmers challenging the approval of two Bills by the Governor are likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday.
Protesters from various villages formed a human chain along the road, while maintaining physical distance. Some of them were carrying national flags. Few of the protesters were on their knees and with folded hands as the convoys of the judges passed.
The protesters pleaded that their interests be protected and the government withdraw its move to develop three state capitals.
Policemen kept a tight vigil from Tallayapalem to Nelapadu to prevent any untoward incident. Protests resumed in 29 villages of Amaravati on July 31 when Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan approved the two Bills.
The Governor cleared the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill 2020, paving the way for shifting key capital functions from Amaravati.
The government plans to develop Visakhapatnam as the executive capital. With the shifting of the offices of the Chief Minister, Governor, ministers and secretaries to the coastal city, it will become the seat of power. The government has decided to develop Kurnool as the judicial capital by shifting the High Court there.
Amaravati, which was originally planned as the only state capital and a world-class city, will serve as a mere legislative capital as the state legislature meets barely 50-60 days a year.
The move by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government has triggered distress among 24,000 farmer families who had given 33,000 acres of land under the land pooling scheme. The then TDP government headed by Chandrababu Naidu had major plans to build Amaravati on the banks of Krishna river as the dream capital and a world-class city.For every acre of cultivable land pooled, the farmers were promised 1,000 square yards of residential plots and 250 square yards of commercial plots with all the infrastructure.
Almost all the farmers received the allotment papers. They were also promised Rs 50,000 annuity per acre with annual hike of 10 per cent.
However, all the construction activity, which was at its peak before elections last year, came to a grinding halt with the change of guard. The new government also terminated all agreements, including those with the Singapore companies.
(With IANS inputs)