Andhra HC seeks status report on Amaravati capital works

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday directed the state government to submit a status report on the progress of construction works in Amaravati.

Hearing a batch of writ petitions and a couple of contempt petitions filed by some Amaravati farmers against the state government, the high court asked the government to file the report on the progress of the works.

The counsel for petitioners told the court that the government is not implementing March 3 orders of the court to complete implementation of Amaravati capital city master plan in six months.

The petitioners said even months after the court order, facilities such as electricity, drainage, roads and drinking water for the developed plots given to farmers under the Land Pooling Scheme in the capital area were not developed.

"The orders to complete town planning schemes under Sec 61 of the CRDA Act were willfully not implemented, which is nothing but contempt of court." They contended that even responsibilities mentioned under Schedule 3 of the Land Pooling Scheme were ignored.

Senior counsel Rajender Prasad said the petitioners also brought to the court's notice statements made by some ministers and alleged that the government has no intention of obeying the court orders.

The three-judge bench, however, made it clear that the court will not go by the statements made in the media and will take into account what the government does or tells the court.

While adjourning the case to July 12, the court asked the government to file a status report on the works in the form of an affidavit.

A bench of three judges headed by Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra had pronounced the judgment on March 3 on 75 petitions filed by Amaravati farmers and others challenging the government's move for trifurcation of state capital.

The court also asked the government to hand over developed plots with all basic amenities to farmers within three months.

The government was also asked not to alienate lands in Amaravati for any work other than development of state capital.

Though the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government made it clear that it remains committed to three-capital policy, it reportedly decided to complete some works which could be required to continue Amaravati as a legislative capital.

The YSRCP government on November 22, 2021 repealed two laws enacted last year to create three state capitals but announced that it will come out with a new comprehensive legislation.

The Assembly passed Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Repeal Bill 2021.

The Bill repealed the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Act 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region development Authority Repeal Act 2020 Act.

The government, however, had made it clear that it had not gone back on the decision to have administrative, legislative and judicial capitals at Visakhapatnam, Amaravati and Kurnool respectively.

The development had come as the high court was to resume hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the two legislations made in 2020.

After coming to power in 2019, the YSRCP had reversed the decision of the previous TDP government to develop Amaravati as the only state capital. This had triggered massive protest from farmers of Amaravati, who had given 33,000 acres of land for the capital and were hoping to reap its economic benefits.

The farmers, women and others have been protesting against the trifurcation for more than 800 days.

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