Save Amaravati Committee writes to President against capital shifting bills

The Committee Chairman alleged that the Andhra Pradesh Governor had been “lobbied with” to allow the passage of the bills.
Save Amaravati Committee writes to President against capital shifting bills
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With the Andhra Pradesh government sending the Bills related to establishing three capitals in the state to the Governor, the Amravati Joint Action Committee (JAC) or the Save Amaravati Committee has written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to allow the capital to continue at Amaravati. 

On Sunday, former Chief Minister and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu also wrote to Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan, urging him against giving assent to the Decentralisation of Capital Bill and the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) repeal Bill, which would allow the shifting of the primary capital with the executive function, from Amaravati to Vizag. 

With reports suggesting that the Governor might refer the two Bills to the President of India, Amaravati JAC Chairman GVR Shastri, who is also the National General Secretary of the ‘Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha’, wrote to the President urging him to “protect” Amaravati’s interests.

The Amaravati JAC Chairman also alleged that the Governor had been “lobbied with” to allow the Bills to be passed. “[I]t is public knowledge gathered from numerous news reports, editorials and articles both in print and television media, that the Learned Governor of the State has been lobbied with, to enable the passage of the said placed unconstitutional Bills without any impediment,”  Shastri wrote. 

He also raised concerns that the bills were inconsistent with the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. 

The bills were first introduced in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative  Assembly in January 2020, and were easily passed as the ruling YSRCP enjoys a majority in the Assembly. In the Legislative Council, where the TDP holds a majority, the bills were stalled and referred to a Select Committee. 

However, the YSRCP government proposed to dissolve the Legislative Council, and reintroduced the Bills again in the Assembly in June. The bills were passed for a second time. 

The bills then caused a major row in the Legislative Council, and failed to pass yet again. Since a month has elapsed after the Bills were stalled (for the second time) in the Council, the government sent them to the Governor for his assent under Article 197 (1) and (2) of the Constitution (Restriction on powers of Legislative Council as to Bills other than Money Bills).

Many people from the 29 villages of the Amaravati capital region had given up their land under the TDP government, in exchange for developed plots in what was expected to turn into a sprawling urban metropolis in a few years. With YSRCP’s plan to decentralise capitals and Amaravati becoming only the legislative capital, the real estate prices are now unlikely to shoot up as expected by those who gave up their lands.  

Over the past six months, Amaravati JAC or Amaravati Protection Committee, has been holding protests and organising various forms of opposition to the move to shift the capital away from Amaravati. 

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