CM Jagan bats for three capitals in House debate

CM Jagan bats for three capitals in House debate


Reiterating his government’s firm commitment to form three capital cities for Andhra Pradesh, YSR Congress party president and chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday declared that Visakhapatnam is the natural choice for the executive capital, as it is the biggest city in the state with ready-made infrastructure.

The chief minister was answering a debate on the “decentralisation of state administration” in the state assembly on the first day of the monsoon session. Members of the Telugu Desam Party were suspended for the day for allegedly interrupting the discussion on the subject.

“Constructing the capital city at Amaravati is nothing but chasing a dream. It will not be completed even after 100 years,” Jagan declared.

He recalled that former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu himself had estimated that it would require 1.10 lakh crore only to create basic infrastructure in Amaravati in 53,000 acres of land at the rate of around 2 crore per acre.

“All that he could spend was just 5,500 crore during his tenure. And his government had kept 2,297 crore pending bills for us to clear. I don’t have the money to build a capital city at Amaravati,” he said.

Taking a dig at Naidu and his party leaders for their sloganeering on Amaravati that was not built and could never be built, Jagan said if given a little boost and an investment of just 10,000 crore, Visakhapatnam would be the natural capital for Andhra Pradesh.

Stating that he is not against Amaravati, the chief minister said he did not want to take away the capital from the region, but only wanted to add two more capitals. “Decentralisatoin is our policy. The people of the state acknowledged our view by giving us a landslide majority in all the polls held after 2019 general elections,” he said.

Taking a dig at the ongoing agitation by a section of farmers of Amaravati, Jagan said the agitation was not for the development of SCs, STs, BCs or minorities but to safeguard the interests of a few people belonging to the wealthy class.

“The state in our view is the entire stretch of 1.62 lakh sq. km radius but not the 8 km radius for which there has been an agitation of late. The state consists of 3.96 crore acres and not just 50,000 acres. But the vested interests have been spreading false notions and want to concentrate development in one region,” he said.

Referring to the ongoing padayatra by Amaravati farmers, the chief minister said the yatra was sponsored by Naidu and his cronies and the participants were raising funny slogans, only to provoke the people of other regions to create a tense situation.

In March this year, the Andhra Pradesh high court had ordered Amaravati’s development as the state capital and ruled that the government has no right to enact fresh legislation for three capitals.

Jagan claimed that his government had been implementing welfare schemes, which could not be implemented by the previous TDP government, though there was not much difference between the budget during the previous regime and the present government.

“It is a matter of commitment and priority. While welfare of weaker sections is our priority, the welfare of only a section of society was the priority of Naidu,” Jagan said.

Finance minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy and YSRCP members Bhumana Karunakar Reddy, Kodali Nani and K Kanna Babu also spoke and defended formation of three capitals.

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