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Andhra cabinet approves report on decentralization of capital

Police stop farmers trying to lay siege to the assembly in protest against the three-capital proposal for state of Andhra Pradesh, at Velagapudi in Guntur district on Monday. Farmers of Amaravati to be paid an ex-gratia of  ₹5,000 per month instead of  ₹2,500 per month (Photo: PTI)Premium
Police stop farmers trying to lay siege to the assembly in protest against the three-capital proposal for state of Andhra Pradesh, at Velagapudi in Guntur district on Monday. Farmers of Amaravati to be paid an ex-gratia of 5,000 per month instead of 2,500 per month (Photo: PTI)

  • The state cabinet approved the ideology of three capitals, Visakhapatnam as executive capital, Kurnool as judicial capital and Amaravati as the legislative capital
  • Cabinet also discusses farmers’ issues, insider trading of Amaravati lands, amendments to APCRDA Act

HYDERABAD : The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday approved the report of the high power committee on decentralization of the state’s capital during a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in Amaravati.

Apart from the decentralization of the capital between Amaravati, Visakhapatnam, and Kurnool, farmers’ concerns, employee problems, alleged insider trading of Amaravati lands and amendments to the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act were also discussed at the meeting.

The cabinet’s nod comes even as a three-day special winter assembly session is being held to discuss and approve the report.

The cabinet on Monday also decided to increase the ex-gratia being paid to the farmers of the (Amaravati) capital region from 2,500 per month to 5,000 per month for loss of land. It approved the establishment of the Amaravati Metropolitan Development Authority (AMDA) in the place of the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA).

“The cabinet also approved the ideology of three capitals, Visakhapatnam as executive capital, Kurnool as judicial capital and Amaravati as the legislative capital. In addition to the decentralization and CRDA amendment bills, the state government agreed upon offering better packages to the farmers of the Amaravati region," according to a press statement released by the Andhra Pradesh government on Monday.

The two bills that have been introduced in the three-day assembly session deal with the decentralization of the state’s capital and the replacement of APCRDA with the AMDA. Both are likely to be passed as the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has a majority of 151 seats in the 175-member assembly though it has only nine of the 58 members in the legislative council, where the Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) enjoys a majority of 28 members.

The state government will probe into alleged irregularities and “insider trading" that took place during the previous government’s tenure, the chief minister told the House on Monday.

The state-government had in December 2019 appointed an expert committee, which recommended that Visakhapatnam be made the executive capital and Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region the legal capital with the high court located there. It suggested that Amaravati could house the governor’s office and the assembly, becoming the legislative capital.

The state government set up a high-power committee to examine the recommendations of the G.N. Rao-led expert committee, after the state cabinet, led by the Jagan Mohan Reddy, deferred taking a decision to relocate the capital given that farmers in Amaravati had been up in arms against the decentralization.

Farmers are opposed to the new plan because they have given up their farmland for the development of Amaravati and had been promised land in return following the development of Amaravati apart from a monthly income of 2,500 per acre, that they receive as compensation for not being able to do farming.

On Monday, several leaders of the TDP were taken into custody by the Andhra Pradesh Police as they tried to reach the state legislative assembly along with farmers from Amaravati to protest against the state government’s three-capital plan. The protesters, who included leaders such as member of Parliament Jayadev Galla and Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao were prevented from reaching the assembly to stage a protest.

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