Is Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy considering ‘shifting’ Andhra’s capital from Amaravati to somewhere else? This question is resonating across the state raising concerns from numerous quarters.
Fuelling the buzz, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from the state T G Venkatesh told media that the state government may consider going for four capitals. “The state government is going to go forward with four planning boards in four regions – Rayalaseema, Ongole-Guntur-Nellore region, Krishna-Godavari region, and Srikakulam-Vizag-Vizianagaram region – to give prominence to each region,” he told reporters in Kurnool on Sunday, August 25. Saying that the CM has discussed the matter with BJP leaders at the centre, Venkatesh, who joined BJP from Telugu Desam Party earlier this year has also pointed out that the CM had made similar promise during his padayatra before the elections.
Doubts on the fate of Amaravati as capital region has been hovering since YSR Congress formed the government in May. However, the doubts increased when Andhra Pradesh Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister Botcha Satyanarayana last week stated that the government will reconsider if Amaravati was safe to be the state's capital, as the region along the banks of river Krishna is flood-prone.
Also read: What Lies Ahead for Amaravati?
Surprisingly, all the other YSRCP leaders including CM Jagan have maintained silence on the matter. This has caused tensions for several sections of farmers and landowners in Amaravati region who gave up land for the capital’s development and businessmen who began their works on various contracts there. For instance, on Sunday, residents of Velagapudi village in Thullur mandal of Guntur district held a protest demonstration - 'Rasta-Roko' (road blockage), demanding Minister Satyanarayana to take back his statement. On the other side, as per local media reports, real estate brokers in Donakonda in Prakasam district are inflating land rates claiming that the capital will be ‘shifted’ there.
Analyst argue that the CM’s series of actions in the last three months of his rule reflects his animosity towards N Chandrababu Naidu and the Telugu Desam Party. There are several examples to show this, which include the demolition of a newly constructed government building ‘Prajavedika’, the state’s efforts to cut renewable energy tariffs by reviewing signed-and-sealed contracts by the TDP government and termination of the contract of Navayuga Engineering Company Limited for executing a hydro-power project of Polavaram irrigation project on Godavari river.
However, as a setback to the state government, on August 22, the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck off Jagan’s order terminating the contract of Navayuga.
IANS reported that in its survey of a cross section of people, it found that “the dominant feeling among people seems that the government is focusing more on settling scores with the opposition TDP, rather than addressing people's concerns.”
Also read: Challenges Ahead of Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy
It is a fact that former CM Chandrababu Naidu began building an extravagant capital - Amaravati for Andhra Pradesh by adhering a controversial land pooling system, despite environmental concerns. While his moves attracted large-scale investments resulting in hundreds of projects which are now in various levels of construction, any restructuring of the plan by the new government would demand a sustainable approach not political vendetta.