Capital issue: AP Cabinet defers decision

Our Bureau Vijayawada | Updated on December 27, 2019 Published on December 27, 2019

Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani)   -  V RAJU

To constitute a high-power panel to examine GN Rao committee and Boston Consultancy Group reports

Amid high tension and intense speculation over the issue of shifting the capital from Amaravati, the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on Friday deferred its decision. It has decided to constitute a high-power committee to examine the GN Rao committee report on the capital issue. Another report by the Boston Consulting Group is to be submitted in January, which will make suggestions to the State Government.

Briefing the media in Amaravati, State Information Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) said that the Cabinet had discussed the GN Rao committee report and decided to constitute a high-power committee. “The Boston Consulting Group is also studying the issue and the report is likely to be submitted in the first week of January. The expert committee will study both reports and only then will a decision will be taken,” he said.

Making comments laced with heavy sarcasm against former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, he said, “The former CM with four decades of political experience, which he will never let us forget, drew up grand plans to build a dream capital in Amaravati with a budget of more than ₹1 lakh crore. He pooled 33,000 acres of private agricultural land from the farmers under the land pooling system and roughly 20,000 acres of land from other sources, the Government etc, and it added up to 53,000 acres or so. To develop infrastructure in the area, at ₹2 crore per acre, it would require more than a lakh crores.”

He went on, “Against the staggering amount, in five years, the vastly experienced former CM spent roughly ₹5,400 crore, including the grant of ₹1,500 crore by the Union Government. We are now paying more than ₹500 crore for debt servicing for the debts he raised for Amaravati. At this rate, how long will it take to realise the dream of the former CM and make the Amaravati of his dreams a reality ?”

Three-capital proposal

Perni Nani said, “we are considering whether it is possible to build a capital on a more realistic budget and we are exploring options. But we have not taken a decision yet and the high-power committee will go into all these issues and make suitable recommendations. Some sections are indulging in wild speculation and character assassination of the CM. To set the record straight, in the Assembly, the CM only mooted the proposal of three capitals, citing the example of South Africa, nothing more and nothing less.”

People's capital

Rebutting the allegations of State Information Minister Perni Nani, TDP leader and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the YSR Congress leaders were only exposing their awful ignorance by making such jibes against him. He said, “Amaravati is the people's capital and it is the dream of five-crore people of Andhra Pradesh to have a major city like Hyderabad, Chennai or Bengaluru, to generate revenues for the entire State. YSR Congress Government is playing havoc with it. It was designed as a self-financing project. The TDP Government pooled 33,000 acres of land from farmers to build the capital city. The State Government would have been left with 10,000 acres of land with high commercial value to finance the project. There are ways and means to raise resources to build a greenfield capital. It is the State’s tragedy that men of little intellect, and no imagination, are at the helm of affairs today.”

He warned the State Government against the idea of shifting the capital from Amaravati. Further, he said, the State Government was free to institute any inquiry against him or TDP leaders regarding allegations of insider trading. “I am openly challenging the State government to institute a CBI inquiry against me or a judicial inquiry with a sitting HC judge. Let them not waste time making silly and baseless charges..”

Published on December 27, 2019
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