Andhra Assembly passes CRDA Bill

Andhra Assembly passes bill to strip of Amaravati's capital status

YS Jaganmohan Reddy. (DH Photo)

The Bills on CRDA Act and to provide for decentralization of governance have been passed by Andhra Pradesh Assembly. The Bills will now go to the Council. 

YS Jaganmohan Reddy's cabinet has decided to repeal the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act (CRDA) 2014, which effectively strips the Amaravati region from the Andhra Pradesh capital status.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Reddy on Monday morning. 

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly was discussing two Bills. One is to repeal the Andhra Pradesh CRDA Act and allowing the formation of Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Area in its place. This Bill also enhances benefits to the farmers who gave lands for the capital like an extended annuity for five more years to 15 years. Landless labourers to get Rs 5,000 more per month. Assigned landowners to get benefits like a developed plot on par with Patta holders. All assets and liabilities including bonds issued by CRDA with the government guarantee would be now transferred to AMRDA. 

The second important Bill was to provide for decentralization of governance and inclusive development of all regions of Andhra Pradesh. This Bill, a copy of which is with DH, clearly mentions the three seats of governance in Andhra Pradesh: a) Visakhapatnam, as the executive capital where RajBhavan, Secretariat, various departments buildings would be located, b) Amaravati as the legislative capital, that is, with assembly, council buildings, and c) Kurnool as the judicial capital with the High court and related judicial institutions. 

Speaking in the assembly, Buggana Rajendranath, the finance minister and head of a high power committee on capital and decentralised development alleged large-scale benami land transactions by the TDP leaders, five years back. The minister named Chandrababu Naidu, his son Lokesh, several TDP politicians like MPs and MLAs as buying large tracts of lands anonymously in the Amaravati region prior to the capital announcement by their government in December 2014. This "insider trading" is said to be one of the prime reasons why Jaganmohan Reddy was inclined to shift the capital from there. 

The Amaravati farmers are continuing their protest with some trying to reach the assembly where a heavy police deployment is made.