Amaravati: In a surprise move, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a Bill to repeal the controversial AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, that was intended to establish three capitals for the State. Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, however, said the government would come out with a more comprehensive, people-friendly Bill.
While making the announcement in the AP Legislative Assembly on Monday, which led to the passing of the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Repeal Bill, 2021, Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy said that his government would bring a ‘comprehensive, complete and better’ Decentralisation Bill. The Chief Minister recalled that the new Andhra State was formed with Kurnool as the capital under the terms of the Sribagh pact. After the formation of the Andhra Pradesh State in 1956, both the capital city and High Court were shifted to Hyderabad.
Speaking in the Assembly Jaganmohan Reddy said, “Everyone knows the TDP government’s decision to set up a capital in Amaravati on 50,000 acres was controversial, and that it went against the Sivaramakrishnan committee report. I have nothing against this region. I have my residence here. But we have to consider one aspect that this region is neither exactly in Guntur or Vijayawada. There is no basic infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, drainage. And it is estimated that it would cost Rs 2 crore to set up infrastructure in one acre here and for 50,000 acres, it would be Rs 1 lakh crore.
“In ten years, this cost would shoot up further from Rs 6 lakh crore to Rs 7 lakh crore. When we have a shortage of funds for laying roads, drainage and paying power bills, how can we meet such huge costs? How long will it take for the capital to be ready? It is unfair to mislead people about a big, imaginary capital. Vizag on the other hand already is the biggest city in the State and has all the basic infrastructure. If we work on beautification and other amenities, it can be developed to compete with cities like Hyderabad,” he added. With this in mind, decentralisation was contemplated, making Visakhapatnam the executive capital, Amaravati the legislative capital and Kurnool as judicial capital, he explained.
Jagan said that the three-capital idea was floated with the idea of uniform development in mind. “Since then, many misconceptions have been created around it, along with many legal hurdles. It is in these circumstances that we are having to make this announcement. As soon as the capital decentralisation Bills were passed, if the trifurcation process had begun, we would have been able to see the positive results by now,” he said.
Stating that in the 2019 elections, people’s mandate made it clear that repeating a super capital model like Hyderabad is not what they wanted, the Chief Minister added, “Amidst the negative publicity, misconceptions and legal hurdles, some have also said that a few people would face injustice as a result of this move.”
“In this context, to properly elaborate the government’s good intentions in decentralising the capitals, the need for it, and to ensure all legal questions are answered in the Bill itself, to improve the Bill, to explain the issue in detail to people of all regions, and to make any other changes if needed, the government is withdrawing the Bill introduced earlier. Taking all these factors into account, the government will return to the House with a comprehensive, improved Bill, the Chief Minister further said.