Visakhapatnam will be new capital of Andhra: CM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Visakhapatnam will be new capital of Andhra: CM

Feb 01, 2023 12:18 AM IST

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday said the state capital will be shifted to Visakhapatnam, and that his permanent office will be set up in the coastal city.

Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday said the state capital will be shifted to Visakhapatnam, and that his permanent office will be set up in the coastal city, while inviting investors for the Global Investment Summit to be held there in the first week of March.

Amaravati farmers protest against the Andhra Pradesh government’s plan for three capital cities, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on December 17. (PTI)
Amaravati farmers protest against the Andhra Pradesh government’s plan for three capital cities, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on December 17. (PTI)

“Here I am to invite you to Visakhapatnam which is going to be our capital in the days to come. I myself will also be shifting over to Visakhapatnam in the months to come as well,” he told the investors at a meeting.

The announcement – a twist in a long-running saga over the state capital – comes four months after the Supreme Court stayed the Andhra Pradesh high court order ordering the state government to complete all work in Amaravati as the state capital by March 2023.

Currently, Reddy works from Visakhapatnam and also from his camp office in Amaravati.

The opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), led by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, said legal experts believe the announcement may amount to contempt of court since the matter is pending in the top court.

“Legal experts say that (CM) saying in Delhi that Visakhapatnam is going to be the capital while the Supreme Court is hearing the issue of AP’s capital will amount to contempt of court,” the party said in a tweet.

The previous Naidu government in 2015 declared Amaravati as the state capital and acquired 33,000 acres of land from farmers to build the new capital city. The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) was constituted to provide basic amenities such as roads, drinking water, drainage and electricity in the new city, which Naidu promised to develop on a Singapore model.

Andhra Pradesh lost its capital Hyderabad to Telangana when the state was divided into two in 2013-2014. Under the Andhra-Telangana reorganisation act, the Centre promised to provide adequate funds to Andhra Pradesh to develop a new capital.

Soon after coming to power in 2019, Jagan announced his intention to develop three capitals in the state – Amaravati as legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as administrative capital, and Kurnool as judicial capital.

In 2020, the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly approved a law, the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, to create the three capitals.

However, the law was opposed by farmers of Amaravati under the banner of Rajadhani Rythu Parirakshana Samiti on the grounds that their land was acquired by the state government on the promise that Amaravati would be developed as a full-fledged state capital. They moved the Andhra Pradesh high court. As the high court was hearing the petition, the state government withdrew the law. But the court went ahead with the hearing and ordered the state government to complete all work in Amaravati by March 2023.

A three-judge bench of the high court, comprising chief justice Prasanth Kumar Mishra and justices M Satyanarayana Murthy and DVSS Somayajulu, in its verdict held that the state government had no “legislative competence” to change or remove Amaravati as the capital of the three civic wings – legislature, executive, and judiciary of the state.

The 307-page verdict was challenged by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the top court in September, arguing that a state not having the power to decide on its capital was a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution.

Several ministers in Andhra Pradesh, in recent months, said the state government will come up with a new bill on the three capitals issue. No official announcement was made about the bill.

Political experts earlier said the announcement of three capitals was aimed at targeting voters in three different regions of the state.

Former chairman of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) Visakhapatnam chamber G.V Satyanarayana hailed Jagan’s announcement.

Satyanarayana said Visakhapatnam is a cosmopolitan city with all necessary infrastructure and it is a good decision of the state government. “Visakhapatnam has necessary infrastructure like international airport, road and port connectivity which is important for the capital city,” he told news agency PTI.

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