Broken AP's search for capital ends

Broken AP's search for capital ends

Some of the prominent astrologers predicted that the Bhumi Pooja (ground-breaking ceremony) for the new capital Amaravati on June 6 at Mandadam village was a bad omen for Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

They warned Naidu that he would suffer if he went ahead with the plan. Their premonitions were correct as Naidu had to face several problems round the year 2015.

The Andhra Pradesh government started pooling 33,000 acres of lush agricultural river side land in Guntur district for the construction of the state-of-the-art capital with the help of a plan presented by the Singapore government. The process in later months has troubled Naidu and his Telugu Desam Party government to a stage where the farmers who once gave their consent happily, demanded their land back.

Farmers’ agitation fueled by opposition party YSR Congress, the Congress and Left parties and the friendly actor Pawan Kalyan of Jana Sena forced Naidu to issue a government order for land acquisition. However, the Singapore government submitted a Master Plan for the capital to be developed in 16 square kilometres under Phase-1, saving Naidu from further embarrassment. This announcement brought back confidence in Naidu that he was actually building a capital and not handing over farmers’ land to some real estate venture.

However, the foundation ceremony of the capital by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 22 in Uddandarayapalem did not help in solving Naidu’s problems as the PM skipped the real issue of special status to the state and gifted him a pot of soil from Parliament and Yamuna river water in another container.

Financial crunch
The state suffered severe financial crunch owing to bifurcation. It has limited sources of revenue generation as the money spinner Hyderabad has remained with Telangana. The opposition didn’t remain silent and tried to corner the government on every possible occasion, highlighting its failure to secure special status.

Above all, the credibility of Naidu as a clean leader took a severe beating with the cash-for-vote scam unearthed by the Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau. The Telangana police even entered the premises of the AP chief minister’s official residence in Hyderabad with an intension of arresting him. Following which Naidu more or less stopped visiting Hyderabad and shifted to a temporary accommodation on the banks of Krishna near Amaravati.

The call money scam in Vijayawada, the temporary capital of AP, put major question mark on the ruling party members. Money lenders sexually exploited gullible women customers who have failed to repay loans taken on exorbitant interest rates. Several spurious liquor cases also dented Naidu’s image.

However the future of the state looks bright with foundation of several institutions such as IIT, NIT, IIIT, IIM and AIMS being laid in 2015.

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