BREAKING NEWS

Jagan Govt may shelve Amaravati as Capital

The Andhra Pradesh cabinet today approved the three-capital proposal during its meeting at the state secretariat which means that the government is likely to shelve the masterplan of the futuristic capital, Amaravati. 
 
In this Special 3-day Assembly session, the government will introduce the following bills: Decentralisation of state development, repealing of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act, benefits related to farmers in Amaravati and converting all government schools into English medium. 
 
Amidst this decision of the government, large gatherings have been banned in parts of the state capital and heavy security has been deployed on the roads leading to the secretariat and the state assembly. On Sunday, the Communist Party of India and Telugu Desam Party called for ''Chalo Assembly (Let's march to assembly)'' protest today against the state government.
 
Protests have been going on in 29 villages of Amaravati and other parts of the state for nearly five weeks by farmers who are opposing the state government's proposal to shift the state capital from Amaravati.
 
While the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government has been firm on carrying out its new plans for “comprehensive, parallel and decentralised development,” other political parties and citizens at large have opposed the ruling YSR Congress' move to relocate the state capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam, as already indicated by the Chief Minister on the floor of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on December 17.
 
In 2014, 28,000 farmers had given up nearly 33,000 acres of agricultural land for the 'futuristic capital' proposed by then chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. The protesting farmers fear they will suffer financial setback if the capital is moved from Amaravati.
 
Several opposition parties - the Telugu Desam, the BJP, Jana Sena, Communist Party Of India - have backed the farmer protests. Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena and the BJP, who announced an alliance for 2024 state elections last week, have said that Jaganmohan Reddy cannot take unilateral decision on shifting the capital.
 
Last week, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had sought a response from the state government on a clutch of petitions accusing the police of high-handedness during protests. It had also questioned the deployment of heavy security in various parts of the state capital.
 
On Sunday, Chandrababu Naidu dismissed the claims and said there is “no logic” in having three capitals and called the government's proposed plan just a “witch hunt” against the TDP.
“Does it makes sense to shift the capital when the construction is almost at an advanced stage? An investment of nearly Rs. 50,000 crore has been committed that has potential to generate 50,000 jobs in the state. About 130 institutes from hospitals to education hub were to come up. All this will not happen if the capital is shifted,” Naidu said.
 
The YSRCP may be having a brute majority of 151 in the 175-member Assembly but it's in a woeful minority in the 58-member Council, with its numbers being just nine. With 28 members, and possible support of BJP and others, the TDP could effectively stall albeit temporarily any legislation intended to alter the status quo of the capital.
 
Wary of this, the government has not let its strategy known so far though indications are that it may bring in a Money Bill to foil the opposition attempts. But the (draft) Money Bill has to be first approved by the cabinet and sent to the Governor for clearance before it is tabled in the Assembly, government sources said.
 
The Committee relied on the recommendations made by the six-member committee of experts and also the Boston Consulting Group, besides the Sivaramakrishnan Committee, while coming out with its own set of suggestions.

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