Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Minister Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy on Sunday said that the YSRCP government would go ahead with its plan of decentralising the capital, once the situation arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic was under control.
"The COVID-19 cases are expected to increase in July. So for now, there is no decision on capital. Once this (the pandemic) is under control, we will talk about it," the Minister told reporters.
Undoing its predecessor Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) plan to build a capital in Amaravati, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government has already announced that the state would decentralise it. While Amaravati would remain the legislative capital, Kurnool would be made the judicial capital while Visakhapatnam would serve as the executive capital.
"Whatever the case, the capital will be decentralised. This was mentioned in the Governor's speech (in the recent Assembly session) as well. We will take the decision to go ahead with it at the right time," Minister Ramachandra Reddy said.
During a press meet on Sunday, he also denied allegations that irregularities took place in laterite mining in Vanthada village in East Godavari district.
Locals from Vanthada, which is situated in Prathipadu mandal, have alleged that the hills in the area have been ruthlessly exploited for minerals such as bauxite and laterite, which the hill range, situated between Narsipatnam in Visakhapatnam district and Prathipadu in East Godavari district, is famous for.
Locals have complained of pulmonary issues, skin allergies and heavy cough due to the mining. In 2010, a committee, headed by the then Joint Collector and other senior officials found that tribal land pattas were taken away by contractors through wrongful means, violating the AP Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfers) Act 1977.
The biggest allegation by activists, however, was that bauxite was being mined and exploited in the guise of laterite.
Stating that nine leases were issued before the YSRCP came to power, the Minister on Sunday said that, "Chemical analysis was performed on the mineral being extracted and if it was bauxite, the Centre would have to auction leases for mining. The result that returned showed that it was aluminium laterite, and after legal opinion, we found that the state had the rights to issue a mining lease. Therefore, we allowed them to resume mining."