news Thursday, September 04, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | September 4, 2014 | 1.35 pm IST Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s announcement that the capital of the state will be Vijayawada, comes amid much opposition from political parties, not to mention that the Sivaramakrishnan committee specifically recommended against it. Addressing the Assembly on Wednesday, Naidu said that Vijayawada was envisaged as the capital with three mega cities and 14 smart cities for de-centralised development in the region. He said that the state Cabinet decision to name the central area around Vijayawada as the capital was a reflection of popular sentiment. Even though the new location has been announced, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will share Hyderabad as the capital for 10 years. The new capital of Andhra Pradesh will come into effect only after that period.  The announcement has been met with much opposition from political parties, with the Congress and YSR Congress criticising the government. YSR Congress had demanded that the Sivaramakrishnan report be debated in the Assembly and had also asked for voting on the decision, but it was not considered. Reacting to the announcement, YSR Congress leader Roja told reporters that the TDP was under pressure because its leaders had invested heavily in real estate in the Vijayawada-Guntur region. Rayalseema leaders have demanded that Kurnool be declared as the capital. Justice Lakshman Reddy who heads the Rayalseema Sadhana Committee questioned the state government’s decision, saying that Kurnool too had all the facilities a state capital would required.  The Congress has also objected to the move, saying that the Naidu government has its political base in Vijayawada. The deputy chief minister of Andhra Pradesh K E Krishnamurthy has been opposed to the move. He is of the view that Vijayawada is a congested city, and making it the state capital would only compound the problem. He said that while only 500 acres of government land was available in Viajaywada, 5,000 acres of government land was already available in Kurnool.  An influential factor in the government’s report may have been a report prepared by the revenue department, identifying a total of 45,000 acres of degraded forest land that could be given to the government. This includes 13,488 acres of forest land in Nunna, Nainavaram and Pathapadu areas, which are part of the Vijayawada¬-Guntur-Tenali¬-Mangalagiri Urban Development Authority (VGTM-UDA), 16,305 acres in Ibrahimpatnam, 10,500 acres near Kanchikicharla and 14,768 near Jaggaiahpet mandals. The Sivaramakrishnan committee appointed by the union government had recommended a decentralised approach for the formation of a state capital. It had recommended that the various arms of the state government be housed in three regions – Vizag in Uttarandhra; in Kurnool, Chittoor, Ananapur, Kadapa and Tirupathi in the Rayalseema region; and Kalahasti-Nadikdu region. The report argued that better communication facilities did not necessitate physical proximity.  The report also said that a de-centralised approach was necessary if the state aimed to achieve even distribution of development. As examples, the committee report cited the states of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra. Acquiring land on such a large scale would also be a difficult task. It has specifically ruled out the Vijayawada-Guntur region as the districts of Krishna, West Godavari and Guntur formed some of best agricultural lands in the country. Since these regions were largely agricultural, urbanisation would displace a large number of people. As the location of the capital was being debated in the government, land prices have shot up in various parts. Initially starting with Guntur city, Mangalagiri, Amaravati and other areas, it later spread to Chilakaluripeta, Macharla, Vinukonda and adjacent areas as well. In his reaction to the chief minister's choice, Sivaramakrishnan Ramakrishnan, who led the panel that formulated the report, said, “It is the chief minister and the government's prerogative to decide its capital. I don't want to enter into any controversies, and I cannot say whether this is a good or a bad decision. I reiterate it is their prerogative to decide the issue more appropriately, whatever my committee felt (on the new capital)."

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.