Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary IYR Krishna Rao has joined the chorus of voices opposed to the greenfield capital Amaravati.
The bureaucrat was recently ousted from the post of Chairman of the Brahmin Welfare Corporation for his Facebook posts that were extremely critical of the TDP government in the state.
Speaking at a symposium in Vijayawada organised by a group called the Green Soldiers, Krishna Rao said that the government was unwise in proceeding with the construction of the capital as currently planned.
â€śThe government wants to ape London, Paris or Venice, but it must remember that those cities have had centuries of evolution,â€ť Krishna Rao said.
He explained that he had not spoken out earlier as the government had ignored even the expert recommendations of the Sivaramakrishnan Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which submitted its report in 2014. â€śI didnâ€™t think that they would listen to my words,â€ť the former Chief Secretary said.
He added that being a member of the government he had to stand by its decisions.
The high amount of land being pooled together for the construction of Amaravati, was the focus of Krishna Raoâ€™s criticism. Pointing out that the Sivaramakrishnan Committee had said that only 275 acres of land were sufficient for constructing the new capital, he said, â€śThe Committee had also opined that it is not right for AP to have a single big capital.â€ť
He said that it was unfair for the government to take over 38,000 acres of three-crop land for constructing the capital. "The government should not threaten people if they don't pool in their land. Saying that we will acquire the land at any cost is a perversion of the logic of law," he said.
Pointing to the environmental costs of the greenfield capital, Krishna Rao added, â€śWhen we have made laws for forest and river conservation, how can the government break all those laws?â€ť he asked.
"Grand construction and designs can be apt when there is enough economic potency, but not in the situation our state is in," he added. He also wondered if the capital city was going to be for all the people or only a few.
Krishna Rao urged the middle class population of Vijayawada not to fall for the trap of a market boom and the rise in land prices, and said that much of this was only "high propaganda."
Antata Kamalakar, Retired Chief Irrigation Engineer of the Andhra Pradesh government, was also among those who addressed the meeting.
Kamalakar called the planned capital city a disastrous idea and said that the Chandrababu Naidu government was courting danger by constructing it in a floodplain. "Receiving 1300 TMCs of water in the upper catchment area, he (CM Chandrababu) wants to construct the city. We should remember only 3 TMC flow has created Kedarinath flood disaster."
"If floods donâ€™t come today, they will in the future. Who will assure the security of future generations?"
He also asked the government with whose money it was "experimenting" on a project that had not taken place anywhere else in the world.