Why Amaravati deserves to be the only capital of Andhra Pradesh 

Named after the ancient Buddhist city, Andhra Pradesh’s capital of Amaravati is one that has a mix of old-world charm and modern architecture. From being a culturally diverse space to having given birth to various other cultures to thrive, this city has a rich history and heritage attached to it, aesthetically. 

The latest High Court judgement declaring Amaravati as the only capital comes as a breather to thousands of farmers who have been protesting for over 800 days from the capital region, against the YSRCP government’s announcement of 3 capitals (which turned out to be a toothless decision).

In the Assembly Resolution on deciding the Capital, the then TDP government led by former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had decided on this based on the fact that it is centrally located and easily accessible from all regions across the state. The Vijayawada-Guntur was chosen as the Capital Region after identifying the region suitable for competent administration, economic development, and cultural integration. 

Of all the places falling in the highest-voted zone (from a people’s survey), Vijayawada-Guntur region stood out as a clear winner which got 7.23% while Vijayawada only got 5.67%. The capital has been decided considering risk mitigation factors, transport, connectivity, low-risk area, water and land availability and the potential for development.

Why land pooling worked well?

Keeping in view the concerns of farmers, the then government had procured land under the country’s best land pooling system to create win-win situation for the government and farmers. Under the land pooling system, 33,000 acres of land has been procured where farmers have voluntarily come forward to give their lands for the development of the capital city.  

Half of the land procured will be utilized for common assets – roads, open spaces, social infrastructure, etc. and the remaining half will be developed by the government. The developed plots will be allotted to land owners close to their lands within three years.

In addition, land owners will get Rs. 30,000 a year to compensate for the loss of agricultural income in non-irrigated lands with Rs. 3,000 increase per year and Rs. 50,000 a year in irrigated lands, with Rs. 5,000 increase per year for a period of 10 years.

This worked well for farmers as well as the government as development increased rapidly with many investors, educational institutions and healthcare institutions setting up shop in Andhra along with automobile and electronics manufacturing units. 

How Buddhism helps in paradiplomacy 

Not just that, but the thought process that went behind it was that the presence of Buddhist culture will open new avenues for AP into other Buddhism-dominant countries and attract foreign tourists as well as investors. It was also envisioned to be a city where citizens and people from all over the world could live, work and play.

This move of creating a Buddhism-connect also was a strategy to use Andhra Pradesh to make a Gateway to South East Asia. The planned Buddhist circuits were to attract both domestic and international tourists. Amaravati’s ancient connection with Buddhism raises its prospects of becoming a global city. This was also a strategic diplomacy idea while India, on a larger level, could also maintain good relations with Asian countries through paradiplomacy, along with ushering in foreign investments and boosting the state’s revenue and employment scenario. 

So, the first 12 months after bifurcation was the opportunity where ChandrababuNaidu rebuilt AP from scratch. From tackling disasters like Hudhud with technology expertise to making a strong pitch to foreign investors about ‘Sunrise Andhra Pradesh’, he hadh charted a path towards growth, development and welfare with his commitment. 

Why Amaravati needs to be the Capital

From creating streamlined systems, scrapping archaic laws, revamping policies to suit the current trends and introducing hassle-free processes to better the ease of doing business in AP and to communicate better/faster with the people of our state, the previous government attempted its best for the state’s growth.

In the process, the people and the state successfully crossed several milestones in growth, welfare and development, before 2019. That, then, looked like the beginning of AP’s long journey towards prosperity. 

Given how AP’s growth was envisioned, Amaravati and only Amaravati deserves to take the place of a capital. But now, with the last three years in ruins, it seems to be difficult to recuperate and get back to a state where prosperity seems to be a long shot, given the financial emergency the state is leading to. 

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Tejaswini Pagadala

Communications Consultant: TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.
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