Expert panel seeks people's opinion on AP capital

Expert panel seeks people's opinion on AP capital

Representative image. (DH photo)

The expert panel, headed by retired IAS officer G Nageswara Rao, has set November 12 as a deadline for the people of the state to send their opinion and suggestion on suitable place for state capital either by written word by post or through email. The five member panel was constitute by the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government to scout for suitable places for capital including the present capital region called Amaravati.

The panel of urban experts includes Mahaveer, Professor of Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi; Anjali Mohan, Urban and Regional Planner; Shivananda Swamy, CEPT, Ahmedabad; K T Ravindran, retired professor, Delhi School of Architecture; and K V Arunachalam, retired Chief Urban Planner, Chennai. The panel had met in Vijayawada and is expected to submit its report within six weeks.

While the Telugu Desam Party is supporting the continuation of Amaravati as state capital, the ruling YSRC party has dropped enough indications that it is in no mood to continue the capital in Amaravati and is wishing to decentralise the capital into different parts. The demand for shifting the high court to Kurnool and the offices of heads of departments to Mangalagiri and Tadepalli, which are not part of the capital region now, is increasing day by day.

The Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana addressing media had once again brought the issue of caste to the fore. “Capital must belong to all the 5 crore people of the state, but not to one particular community,” the minister said pointing out that only the people of Kamma community benefitted from the selection of present locality as state capital. However, he left the choice of the location to the panel. “We will take stand after the expert committee submits its report,” he said.

The abrupt winding up of construction work in Amaravati, on which the earlier government has spent over Rs 6,000 crore, has already gave an impression that the present government is willing to shift the capital to some other place. The World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have also withdrawn from Amaravati project. Both the financial institutions were to pump in $500 million into the project.

Meanwhile, the state high court recently asked the state government to define its stand on continuing Amaravati as state capital as the premises of the high court lacks basic amenities. “We are not even able to get a cup of tea. If the government is unable to take a stand, we will have to,” a high court bench dealing with a “Swiss challenge” case observed. After all the construction workers left the place, it has resulted in a total shut down of hotels and restaurants that sprung up in the past.