Even as the decentralisation of capital in Andhra Pradesh is yet to cross a few hurdles before being finalised, the state government has decided to shift a couple of offices from the Interim Government Complex at the secretariat in Amaravati to Kurnool, ‘on administrative grounds’. The General Administration Department on Friday issued an order for the relocation of the Office of Vigilance Commissioner and Chairman of Commissionerate of Inquiries, and also the Offices of the Member(s) of Commissioner of Inquiries.
The Engineer-in-Chief, (Roads and Buildings) and the Collector and District Magistrate, Kurnool have been tasked with the job of identifying buildings in Kurnool suitable for the relocation. However, no specific date or deadline to shift the offices have been mentioned in the order.
The Andhra Pradesh secretariat is currently located near the Velagapudi village, in the Amaravati capital region. The offices have been ordered to shift to Kurnool, which has been proposed as one of the three capitals for the state, and will perform the judicial functions of the capital. According to the state government, Amaravati will be the legislative capital, Visakhapatnam or Vizag will be the executive capital and Kurnool will be the judicial capital.
The move comes even as the High Court recently warned the government against shifting offices of the Secretariat away from Amaravati, stating that if any such cases were to occur, the officials would then have to shift back to Amaravati at their own expense. The HC bench made this statement in the context of allegations that informal arrangements were being made to shift the secretariat to Vizag, by petitioners who were opposed to the shifting of the ‘executive functions’ of the capital to Visakhapatnam.
The court ruled that since the Bill related to the capital decentralisation is still pending, no such steps can be taken by the government.
The two Bills, aimed at creating Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as the state capitals in addition to existing capital Amaravati, were passed in the Assembly, but the Legislative Council chairman referred the Bills to a select committee on the TDP’s demand.
Following this, the Assembly passed a statutory resolution seeking to abolish the Council. The resolution has been sent to the Union Government. If the Union Cabinet approves, the issue will come before Parliament for necessary enactment.