Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday, September 15 said building capital city Amaravati would be like a dream-chasing as it would take at least 100 years and involve an expenditure of Rs 30 lakh crore. Hence, he said, the idea of creating three capitals for the state aimed at decentralisation (of administration). The Chief Minister also said cases under Section 420 IPC should be booked against those for cheating people through false hopes in the name of Amaravati development.
Winding up a short discussion in the state Legislative Assembly on Decentralisation-Administrative Reforms, the CM noted that at current prices, a sum of Rs 1.05 lakh crore would be required for developing just the basic infrastructure (like roads, drains and power supply) in Amaravati.
The short discussion was taken up on the first day of the monsoon session, in the backdrop of a fresh round of agitation by the farmers of Amaravati region demanding that the capital region be developed in accordance with the High Court verdict.
Significantly, the state government filed an affidavit in the High Court on April 1 this year stating that trunk infrastructure in the capital would be developed in 60 months. It also said the state requested the Union government to grant Rs 1.09 lakh crore for infrastructure development.
Jagan called the farmers' ongoing foot march a drama and said it was aimed at fomenting regional hatred. He alleged that Amaravati development was intended only for the sake of a few capitalists. He said 80 per cent of the stateās population was still living on white ration cards (below poverty line).
Given our budget, we are not able to spend Rs 1,000 crore or Rs 2,000 crore per annum on capital works. At that rate, it will take 100 years to build the capital city. And, because of inflation, the cost will go up to Rs 20 lakh crore or Rs 30 lakh crore, he pointed out. It will be like a dream-chasing. I will never be getting there, Jagan remarked.
On the other hand, spending just Rs 10,000 crore on Visakhapatnam would be sufficient as basic infrastructure was readily available. The Jagan government's plan is to make Visakhapatnam the Executive Capital of Andhra Pradesh. Pooh-poohing the claim that Amaravati capital development was a self-financing model, the Chief Minister noted that only 4,997 acres of land was available for sale.
In February 2019, the Chandrababu Naidu government issued an order stating 5,020 acres of land is available for commercial monetisation. Now, we have to sell each acre for Rs 20 crore to raise Rs one lakh crore, required only for creation of basic infrastructure, he said. How could it be a self-financing project when the land did not command such a price? he asked.
The Chief Minister said the idea to have three capitals (for the state) was to decentralise the administration and develop all regions of the state equally. Decentralisation is a well-thought out decision. It is essential to ensure the administration reaches every corner of the state. It is also vital for effective delivery of services, he added.
Jagan said his government gave a meaning to decentralisation by creating 13 new districts, 24 new revenue divisions and 12 new police sub-divisions in the state. The village secretariat system brought in three years ago stands testimony to decentralised administration. Also, the Rythu Bharosa Kendras, he said.
Jagan asserted that his government would go ahead with the decentralisation plan as the state was not restricted to just 8-sq km radius or 50,000-acre land parcel, an oblique reference to the Amaravati capital region.