Andhra Pradesh repeals controversial Capital Acts

K. V. Kurmanath |K V Kurmanath | | | Updated on: Nov 22, 2021
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State government to come out with a comprehensive Decentralisation Act

As it repeals the two controversial Acts that sought to shift the capital of Andhra Pradesh from Amaravati, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has said that it would replace the Acts with a comprehensive decentralisation bill, addressing all the concerns and grievances of a section of the population.

The Assembly has passed the two bills introduced by the State’s Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy, which seek to repeal the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act 2020 and AP Capital Regional Development Authority Act.

Earlier in the day, the State government sprang a surprise by informing the Andhra Pradesh High Court that it is going to withdraw the two Acts.

Making a statement in the Assembly after the Minister introduced the two bills, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that his government had favoured the three capitals model to ensure a decentralised development.

Stating that a super capital at one place would hamper development of other regions, he said the creation of basic infrastructure at ₹2 crore an acre would cost about ₹1-lakh crore. “Had the two Acts come into force immediately, they would have created a positive impact,” he said.

When the YSRCP government announced its decision to shift the capital last year, it triggered a huge controversy with hundreds of farmers from the Amaravati capital region protesting against the government’s decision.

Farmers protest

The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act 2020 seeks to make Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Area as the ‘Legislative Capital’; the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Area as the ‘Executive Capital’; and Kurnool Urban Development Area as the ‘Judicial Capital’.

Though it was passed by the Assembly in July 2020, it was stalled in the Legislative Council where the ruling YSRCP didn’t have enough numbers to get it passed. Meanwhile, the move was challenged in the Andhra Pradesh High Court last year.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s decision to shift the capital from Amaravati was based on the recommendations of the GN Rao Committee and Boston Consulting Group.

The Opposition parties have opposed the move and supported the relentless protests by the farmers in the capital region that gave their lands to the State government during the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) region during 2014 and 2019.

The farmers demand that the State government withdraw the decision to shift the capital to Visakhapatnam. The protesting farmers are presently on a padayatra , covering different parts of the State, mobilising support to their demand.

The 45-day ‘Maha Padayatra’ with the tagline – Nyayasthanam (courts) to Devasthanam (temple) – will explain to the people along the route to Tirupati the need to continue Amaravati as the capital of the State.

Published on November 22, 2021

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