The Andhra Pradesh government has no plans to shift the state capital out of Amaravati but works will only resume after a probe into the scams that occurred during the previous government, said a top leader of the ruling YSRCP.
Party legislator and spokesperson Ambati Rambabu told IANS that the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is spreading falsehoods that the government is planning to shift the state capital.
"Can we shift the state capital just because work was started by Chandrababu Naidu? We will set right the things and take action wherever there are allegations of corruption and irregularities. If we had any such plans (to shift) why would our Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy have built his house in Amaravati?" the senior leader asked.
He said unlike Jagan Mohan Reddy, his predecessor N Chandrababu Naidu lacked sincerity in building the state capital and this is evident from the fact that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief did not build a house in Amaravati.
"We have full confidence that Amaravati will remain the capital and that is why we have our house here. Why is Naidu not building a house here? He is living in somebody else's house," he said referring to Naidu's rented house.
Rambabu disagreed that Amaravati is not a priority of the new government. "It is a a priority. It is the new state capital. Without developing a capital, how can we move forward?" he asked.
After the YSRCP stormed to power in May, works on various projects in Amaravati launched during the TDP's tenure came to a grinding halt, triggering speculations that Jagan Mohan Reddy may have second thoughts about developing the state capital in Amaravati.
"What is the need to shift? The previous government already acquired 53,000 acres of land here. If there is a need to shift, we would have announced it by now," said Rambabu.
He pointed out that works have stopped not just in Amaravati but on all projects. "We are looking into the irregularities committed by the previous government in awarding the works. Work will resume after reverse tendering wherever necessary," said Rambabu, who hopes things will become normal in six months.
The YSRCP leader said their intention was not delay or cancel the projects. "We only want to see that the public money is not wasted."
Slamming Naidu, Rambabu said they would not show graphics, make big statements like developing a magnificent city or hosting Olympics.
During the poll campaign, Jagan Mohan Reddy had targeted Naidu for not going beyond unveiling graphics on Amaravati. "He is showing cinema to people by unveiling graphics after graphics. Even after four years, Amaravati is in initial stage. Nothing permanent has come up there," the YSRCP chief had told election rallies.
Rambabu said the YSRCP government would not make tall claims like Naidu of building Amaravati like Singapore. "Nothing in our country will be like Singapore, China and Malaysia. Whatever we build will be Indian. It could be better than Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai or Mysore," he said.
He alleged that Naidu has habit of boosting and uttering lies to mislead people and said this was the reason why people rejected him in the recent elections.
Chandrababu Naidu had got the master plan for Amaravati prepared by Singapore. With nine theme cities, and 27 townships, it was planned in an area of 217 square kilometres as a world-class city.
Designed not merely as an administrative capital but an economic and job creating hub and tourism centre, it was planned to be developed in three phases - seed area or core capital, the capital city and the capital region.
Naidu's grandiose plans to build the state capital require an estimated Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Works worth Rs 38,000 crore on projects like roads and state secretariat complex were launched last year but went into a pause mode with the announcement of election schedule in March this year.
The state secretariat, housing the office of the Chief Minister, ministers, top bureaucrats and various departments, legislature and high court are currently operating from temporary structures in Amaravati.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at email@example.com)