Announcement on Vizag as capital gets mixed reaction

Update: 2023-02-01 18:55 GMT
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy (Twitter)

VISHAKHAPATNAM: Ruling party members might have rejoiced and burnt firecrackers soon after Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced that the capital of Andhra Pradesh will soon be shifted to Visakhapatnam. The CM further said he himself will move and function from the Port City.

However, the news, which has gone viral during the last two days, has caused concern among many citizens of Vizag, who fear the peace with which they have been living for years will disappear for good.

“Cost of living will go up. High rise buildings will come up due to scarcity of land. There will be shortage of water,” said R.V. Ramana Murthy, an officer who retired from central government service and is presently living in Madhurawada. He pointed out that the city has vast tracts of reserved forest with wild animals. These will disappear as realtors, with the help of government, will encroach green areas. This will result in city’s temperatures rising during summers, he observed.

Another central government officer born and brought up in Visakhapatnam said the city will witness frequent movement of VIPs causing traffic snarls. A medical professional in his 60s said there would be chaos all over the city. “Each MLA or minister will bring his henchmen and close relatives, who will be immune to law. I will not get requests, only threats,’’ the doctor observed.

Increase in traffic without improvement in infrastructure will spell disaster, leading to frequent chaos on the roads,” said well-known medical professional Dr. Zaheer Ahmed.

Left leaders are apprehensive that the poor will be the worst sufferers if the city is made the capital. “We fear there will be evictions in all 751 notified slums to create space for rich in the city within days of Visakhapatnam being declared capital,” said city secretary of CPI(M) Dr. B Ganga Rao.

There are some sections who feel Vizag becoming capital will augur well for the region. “Visakhapatnam is already developed. The capital status will lead to development of Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Manyam districts, which have remained backwards for the last 50 years. In another 10 years, north Andhra will witness rapid development,” said Andhra University geology department head Prof.  E. Dhanamjaya Rao.

AP Chambers president Pyda Krishna Prasad said the city will develop five times faster once it is made the capital. “We have seaports, airport and good roads. Investors will make a beeline to put their money in Visakhapatnam,” he predicted. He said IT sector too will get a boost.

Students of Andhra University are excited that job opportunities for them will improve if Visakhapatnam becomes the capital. “We can have access to government and pressurise it for jobs, as the chief minister will be sitting in the city,” felt Hanumanthu Ravi Kumar, a final year student of commerce in Andhra University.

“Establishment of a high court bench along with capital will make me happy,” Kuppili Muralidhar, a senior advocate of Vizag, said.

Mrs. AVN College senior teacher Dabbiru Gayatri Devi said educational standards will improve as heads of various departments will be sitting in Visakhapatnam and watching. “Presence of higher-ups in the vicinity will keep teachers on toes,’’ Gayatri remarked.

Auto-rickshaw drivers are the happiest lot. Many say their business will grow as people will prefer to travel by auto rickshaws since they cannot use their four wheelers in traffic jams. "Already people are parking their cars in free areas and hiring auto-rickshaws to travel to Jagadamba and Dwarakanagar during weekdays,” Vanapalli Ganesh of Peda Waltair pointed out.

Street food vendors are also optimistic that their business will grow and spread far wider.

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