TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu asks CM Jagan Reddy not to shift capital from Amaravati
New Delhi, Jan 19: Ahead of a special session of Andhra Pradesh Assembly called to decide on a proposal to have three capitals, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday urged Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy not to shift the state capital from Amaravati, warning that about Rs 50,000 crore committed investment could be withdrawn and also make farmers suffer.
Denying any 'irregularities' in the decision making for Amaravati as capital during his tenure, Naidu asserted he does not have any "vested interest" in Amaravati, saying his party is fighting to control further damage of the state.
Alleging that Andhra Pradesh is on "the path of destruction", Naidu said if the present government -- which is already in debt -- does not honour the agreements, it will dent the image of the state and investors will lose confidence for future investment.
The YSRCP government, which took over in May last year, has alleged irregularities by the previous Naidu government in awarding contracts and in allotting prime lands to those close to the then chief minister.
On January 20, the three-day special winter session of the Assembly is scheduled to begin to approve the report of the High-Powered Committee (HPC) on "distributed capital functions". The chief minister wants to have executive capital at Visakhapatnam, legislative capital at Amaravati and judicial capital at Kurnool.
In an exclusive interview to PTI from Vijayawada, Naidu -- a former chief minister of new Andhra Pradesh and also the undivided state -- said there is "no logic" in having three capitals and called the government's proposed plan just a "witch hunt" against the Telugu Desam Party(TDP). "Does it makes sense to shift the capital when the construction is almost at an advanced stage? An investment of nearly Rs 50,000 crore has been committed that has potential to generate 50,000 jobs in the state. About 130 institutes from hospitals to education hub were to come up. All this will not happen if the capital is shifted," Naidu said.
Already Rs 10,000 crore has been spent on developing Amaravati and many structures from the secretariat to assembly complexes, courts, Raj Bhavan and DGP office have come up. The construction of 5,000 quarters for ministers and senior officers is underway, he said, adding everything will be ready in Amaravati if the government spends another Rs 2,000-3,000 crore. If shifted, there will be a problem of environmental degradation as the land cannot be used for agriculture, the TDP president said.
On top of it, farmers -- who are yet to get compensation for donating 33,000 acres of land under an unique 'land pooling scheme' for creation of the capital and who are agitating against the government's plan to shift the capital -- will be badly affected with the proposed move, he said and added the compensation amount is to the tune of Rs 1-4 lakh crore.
Denying any "irregularities" in making Amaravati as capital, he said it was created based on recommendations of the Sivaramakrishnan Committee constituted by the Centre in 2014 post-bifurcation.
Amaravati was chosen because it is a centrally located place and is planned and positioned very well in all aspects, he said adding the area for capital was already selected and that chapter is over now. "If there were any irregularities, the government is free to act. Already eight months in power, why the government is not initiating any action. Instead of taking action, it is unnecessarily indulging in mudslinging," he said.
Except for interest of five crore people of Andhra Pradesh, Naidu said he does not have "any vested interest" in Amaravati. "As a politician, I have only one interest, that is development and future of the state." "I had prepared vision 2020 for combined Andhra Pradesh. Almost all has happened in Hyderabad. For new Andhra Pradesh, I prepared a vision 2029-2050. By 2029, Andhra should be number one state in the country in all aspects like per capita income and growth. Now, this man (Reddy) has damaged all hopes."
Alleging that the ruling YSRCP government is spreading lines rather than giving a convincing logic for shifting the capital, Naidu said the contention of the Reddy government is that Amaravati capital is being built on a submergeable area although Green Tribunal has made it clear it is not the case and even the Supreme Court had upheld its decision. Another lie the state government said was that Amaravati was not suitable for the capital quoting a report of IIT Chennai. However, the IIT Chennai has denied having come out with any such report, the TDP president said.
Many countries have followed the concept of having all key offices at one place in the capital. Even the national capital New Delhi is bringing all offices at one place, he said, adding the same concept was followed at Amaravati where all departments will be housed in five towers for better governance.
Asked about his political strategy to stall the government's proposed three capitals plan, Naidu said: "We will work out a strategy. He (CM) is having a majority in the assembly, we are having majority in the council. We have to work it out how it is going to happen." "It is 5 crore people of Andhra Pradesh versus Jagan Mohan Reddy's government. In eight months, people have changed their mind. Everyone is annoyed with the government. People will have to protect the state," he said.