The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government had proposed to set up a legislative capital at Amaravati, an executive capital at Visakhapatnam and a judicial capital at Kurnool.

 Andhra withdraws three-capital Bills, Jagan government informs Andhra Pradesh High Court
news Law Monday, November 22, 2021 - 13:00

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to withdraw its contentious Bills on the trifurcation of the state capital into three — Visakhapatnam, Amaravati and Kurnool. During an ongoing hearing in the Andhra Pradesh High Court over multiple petitions challenging the two contentious Bills — AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2020 — the Advocate General S Sriram informed the court of the government’s decision to withdraw them, LiveLaw reported.   

Following a Cabinet meeting convened on the morning of November 21, Minister Kodali Nani told reporters that CM Jagan is expected to announce key decisions taken at the meeting in the Assembly. 

Read: Andhra Assembly withdraws three-capital Bills, govt to bring in 'improved' law later

The Amaravati capital proposal was a flagship project of the Nara Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government. Since the YSRCP government came to power in May 2019, development works in the Amaravati region had been stalled. The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government proposed decentralisation of the capital with the executive capital at Visakhapatnam, legislative capital at Amaravati and judicial capital at Kurnool. The YSRCP government had insisted that development and urbanisation in the Amaravati-Vijayawada-Guntur region will continue in spite of the trifurcation of the capital.

In June last year, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2020, for the second time after the opposition TDP blocked the passage of the Bills in the Legislative Council.

The two Bills were first passed by the Assembly in January last year but the TDP, which enjoyed a majority in the 58-member Legislative Council, stalled them in the Upper House and referred them to Select Committees for wider scrutiny. Irked by the move, the Assembly also passed a resolution urging the Union government to abolish the upper house of the state legislature. 

The move had been opposed by several farmers and landowners of the Amaravati region, with protests demanding that Amaravati be retained as the sole state capital continuing for nearly two years now, organised by the Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi and Amaravati Joint Action Committee (JAC). A 45-day walkathon in the name of ‘maha padayatra’ from Amaravati to Tirupati was launched on November 1. The walkathon had reached Kavali town of Nellore district as of November 21, with the state unit of the BJP extending their support to the movement. 

The previous TDP government had undertaken land pooling for Amaravati under a separate law passed in 2014, called the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Act. Those who owned land in the capital region could volunteer to give it up to the state government, in exchange for a portion of land in the form of a developed plot. The TDP government had pooled 33,000 acres of land from farmers and landowners under the land pooling scheme, who expected land prices to go up substantially once a world-class capital was built as promised by the Chandrababu Naidu-led government. These hopes were dashed when the Jagan government announced its decision to have three capitals. 

Read: Naidu breaks down at press meet, vows to enter Assembly only after returning to power

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