AP Capital Row: Will Amaravati remain a dream city?

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The ongoing agitation for Amaravathi in Andhra Pradesh took a violent turn on Tuesday with farmers damaging the car in which the local YCP MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy was travelling.

The incident took place when the agitating farmers stopped the MLA’s convoy while he was passing by and attempted to talk to him. But the gunmen of the MLA tried to prevent them from going near to him who was sitting inside his car in the front seat. This irritated the agitators who pelted stones at the vehicle damaging the windscreen both at back and front.

As we are aware that the whole issue has begun to snowball into yet another major controversy with YSRCP government not deciding anything on the 33,200 acres pooled in by the erstwhile Telugu Desam government which have been offered by 25,000 farmers in about 29 villages.

But farmers from Mangalagiri, Penumaaka and another three villages said to have not given their lands to the extent of 4000 acres in anticipation of high price as they are nearer to Vijayawada city. The current market value is said to be around Rs 50 lakh per acre whereas the government had offered them as low as Rs 6 lakh per acre. Hence, the farmers today are up in arms against the Jaganmohan Reddy government for dashing all their hopes ignited by the previous government which had offered them an additional package of 1000 sq yard of residential plot and 100 sq yard of Commercial land per acre besides Rs 50,000 per annum as a compensation for sacrificing their vast lands. These plots will be provided with electricity, drainage, water supply and roads. But no facilities provided so far.

History has it, that the united AP government in 1963 had accumulated huge agriculture lands for the construction of Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam projects for no extra benefits except for the government rate. The TD government had adopted a similar policy in constructing the Polavaram project. The tribals were not given any extra benefits.

The present government, however, wants to have three capitals in Amaravati, Vishakhapatnam and Kurnool on the pretext of achieving overall development of the state by destabilizing the administration. Let us see the ground realities:

  • Lucknow is the capital of biggest state Uttara Pradesh. The population, however, is only 28 lakh even today. Except for administrative concentration, no industrial development was there. Noida has emerged as a big IT hub with 40,000 employees. Noida going to cross the population level of Lucknow in few years.
  • Patna is the administrative capital of the second-biggest state in Inda, Bihar with a meagre population of 21.8 lakh only. The IIT, NIIT and AIMS are also located in Patna. But no industrial development took place in Patna.
  • Bhopal is capital of Madhya Pradesh, but no industrial development in Bhopal. The population is only 20 lakh.

Similarly Gowhati, Bhubaneswar also not developed much though they are the capital cities. Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai developed to present a glorious position due to so many factors. The population of these cities were hardly at 3 lakh in 1950. Of course, today the popular had crossed One crore mark.

Instead of spending huge money on the capital city it is better to provide water facilities, road connectivity, rail lines like Ongole to Srisailam towards Kurnool, Hyderabad to Srisailam, doubling of Hyderabad to Guntur line via Nadikudi rail line etc. to be taken up. Facilities like Medical and Infrastructure should also be improved in government hospitals which may hardly cost Rs.10,000 crore.

Similarly, Rs.20,000crore is required for the improvement of facilities in Government schools. Rs. 45,000 crore is required to bring water from Godavari river at Polavaram to Penna river in Kadapa district of Nellore.

It is better to complete the core capital by the construction of Assembly, Secretariat, ministers quarters, MLA quarters, Officer quarters, and High Court in 1200 acres now and return the remaining acres to the farmers. Every chief minister will work as per their plan, but ultimately it should develop the entire state.

The claim of YSRCP that Amaravathi has no potential is wrong. Ahamadabad, Pune, Cuttack, Vadodara, Surat, Hubli, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem and Mangalore, developed though they are not capitals. Similarly, Navi Mumbai developed due to spillover of Mumbai, Cyberabad developed due to spillover of Hyderabad. Dharwad developed due to spill over of Hubli. It happens everywhere. Kovuru developed due to Nellore. Kukatpally also developed into the biggest big municipality in 1988. Later it was merged in Hyderabad.

So cautious and calculated decision to be taken, while protecting the farmers’ interests in Amaravati.