Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh government shelves tri-capital plan

Published : November 22, 2021 15:19 IST

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Ending months of speculation and confusion, the Andhra Pradesh government announced on November 22 that it was shelving the controversial plan to establish three capitals in the State.

Ending months of speculation and confusion, the Andhra Pradesh government announced on November 22 that it was shelving the controversial plan to establish three capitals in the State, a legislative capital at Amaravati, an executive capital at Visakhapatnam and a judicial capital at Kurnool. Amaravati will be the State’s sole capital.

The State Cabinet’s decision to withdraw the two Bills enabling the Andhra Pradesh government to establish three capitals—the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bills, 2020—caught both political pundits and the political opposition by surprise. The State’s Advocate General S. Sriram conveyed the Cabinet’s decision to the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which is, incidentally, hearing a batch of petitions filed by farmers from the Amaravati region challenging the Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s twin Bill, tri-capital plan.

The three-capital plan was strongly opposed by opposition parties and farmers from the Amaravati region, who had given up their lands for building the capital. Citing the unanimous decision on the floor of the Assembly by all political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been saying that Amaravati should continue as the State’s capital.

Notwithstanding the opposition parties’ objection, the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party had piloted the two Bills, securing the then Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan’s assent in July 2020.

In August 2020, the Government of India (which had earlier been made a respondent in one of the petitions against the tri-capital plan) filed a counter affidavit through the Union Home Ministry in the Andhra Pradesh High Court stating that the capital city of Andhra Pradesh was a matter to be decided by the State government and that “the Central government has no role in it”.

The counter affidavit also mentioned that the Centre, under Section 6 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, had constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of K.C. Sivaramakrishnan in March 2014 “to study alternatives for a new capital for the State of Andhra Pradesh”. In August of the same year, the committee had submitted its report, which was immediately passed on to the Andhra Pradesh government. The counter affidavit further mentioned that the State government had issued an order notifying the State’s capital city to be named as “Amaravati” in April 2015.

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