Amaravati, where dreams turn to dust

G Naga Sridhar | | | Updated on: Nov 22, 2021
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The once-hyped Capital city now stands forlorn and desolate

As Andhra Pradesh hangs in suspense over its Capital with the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy led government suddenly scrapping the Bill it introduced in January 2020 to adopt three capitals (Visakhapatnam, Kurnool and Amaravati), a visit to the greenfield capital region proposed by the previous government shows a dire picture.

A dream city

Amaravati, once touted as a dream city, wears a desolate look with vast tracts of fallow lands and forsaken semi-constructed buildings. The half-laid roads lead to nowhere and are not even suitable for a drive due to wild growth of trees and shrubs.

“Now, I can’t even locate my own field which I gave under land pooling to the government for a new Capital. This region is now neither suitable for agriculture nor any other economic activity,” Hari Govinda Prasad, a farmer from Velagapudi Village, told Business Line.

Thousands of farmers from 29 villages, who pooled in over 34,000 acres of land for the new Capital of the State, have been demanding justice to honour the commitments given by the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government for developing infrastructure and returning back a part of the land given to them for Capital.

“The development works cannot be stopped because we gave all we had. We cannot go back to farming as the landscape has been changed and cannot be used for other purposes without development of infrastructure. We are worried that nobody will invest here once executive Cpital moves to Visakhapatnam,” said J Venkateshwarlu, a farmer from Tullur.

Demanding justice, Amaravati's farmers have been staging protests and trying to rally support for their cause and they cut across all party lines.

According to the previous TDP government, of an estimated ₹40,000 crore expenditure for the first phase of the new Capital project, about ₹10,000 crore was spent before it bowed out of power in 2019.

When the Andhra CM introduced the decentralised capital Bill two years ago, the value of land in Amaravati fell significantly. From the heady days of the Capital construction phase, when the price per acre here had shot up to ₹3.5-4 crore, now even at ₹20-25 lakh per acre, there are no buyers. In a matter of just two years, Amaravati has totally lost its sheen, and its people's dreams have turned to dust.

Published on November 23, 2021

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