Panel on AP capital suggests decentralised model

Panel on AP capital suggests decentralised model

A disappointed Andhra Pradesh (AP) government, which was pitching for the Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri (VGTM) region as capital, has decided to place the Sivaramakrishnan committee report before the cabinet on Monday to take a final call on the issue.

The committee, appointed by the Centre to suggest potential locations for developing a capital in the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, has submitted its 187 page report to the Home Ministry on Friday, two days ahead of its August 31 deadline.

The committee has recommended decentralisation of 110 government departments to 13 districts of the state to avoid a Hyderabad like centralised situation. The committee suggested setting up of the AP high court in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam with its bench in far flung Rayalaseema.

The committee has resisted itself from suggesting any specific location for the state capital. Instead it has suggested the strengths and weaknesses of various locations, leaving the decision to the state to finalise the location.

Naidu and several of his cabinet colleagues have already indicated that the VGTM belt would be ideal for the new capital and declared Vijayawada as an ad hoc capital, a decision negated by the committee.

As per the report, the AP government will require a Rs 4.5 lakh crore package to build a capital according to the provisions given in the AP State Reorganisation Act. “It is clear from this very broad estimate, that there is a pressing need to develop
considerable capacity to structure, manage and regulate PPP investments within the overall estimate for buildings for the capital zone, which is about Rs 10,500 crore,” the report stated.

The report, however, is concerned about the shortage of government land in the residual state, particularly in the VGTM region, though the region is centrally located.

The state government has already set in motion options by outright acquisition and land pooling. Initially it hopes to acquire 1,458 acres of land which could be extended up to 5000-10,000 acres in the VGTM area, a process that could take around 4 to 5 years.

The committee says that the VGTM area can only provide 1,500 acres, whereas the requirement will be around 10,000 acres and the supply will be inelastic.

The committee which has qualms about shifting offices from Hyderabad before construction of a state capital suggested that the chief minister could set up his interim office near Gannavaram Airport near Vijayawada, Nuzvid or Musunuru.

The committee has come up with detailed land requirement for the capital. Around 15 to 20 acres for the secretariat and 15 acres for Raj Bhavan. The Legislature will require about 80 to 100 acres of land and the high court complex, including the related judicial offices, will require about 100 to 140 acres of land.

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