VIJAYAWADA: In a major development, Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhushan Harichandan on Friday approved the bill approving three capitals for AP and another one repealing the AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Act.
The approval brings mega relief to the ruling YSR Congress and delivers a big jolt to the Telugu Desam (TD) and other Opposition parties which had been fighting for the Capital at Amaravati.
The Governor’s decision paves way for establishment of the Executive Capital at Visakhapatnam, Judicial Capital at Kurnool and Legislative Capital at Amaravati.
The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill had been pending with the Governor for the past few days for legal opinion.
While the Legislative Assembly had passed the bills twice, they could not get approval from AP Legislative Council, which is dominated by the opposition Telugu Desam.
In a sudden development on Friday, Governor Harichandan approved the two bills. According to highly placed sources, the YSRC government is now planning to celebrate Independence Day officially at Visakhapatnam on August 15. It also lay the foundation stone for the Executive Capital on the same day.
According to norms under Article 197 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, the Bills are deemed to have been passed after one month of being sent to the Governor for assent. After wide-ranging legal consultations, Harichandan decided to give his assent to the two legislations.
YSRC chief whip in the Council Ummareddy Venkateswarlu lauded the Governor’s approval of both the bills. He said the development of three capitals will bring development in all regions of the state.
BJP MP and party's Andhra Pradesh incharge G.V.L. Narasimha Rao welcomed the decision and maintained that Harichandan took the decision as per his constitutional mandate. There is no connection between the Centre and the Governor’s decision, he clarified. He asserted that BJP is in support of the capitals being distributed.
The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2020 were passed by the Assembly on January 20 and again on June 16. They were not cleared by the Legislative Council both the times.
Council Chairman M.A. Sharif used his discretionary powers to refer the two bills to select committees for wider examination. But the committees were not constituted for all these months.
All Opposition parties, including the TD, lobbied to get the two bills rejected and wrote several letters to the Governor. They claimed that as the issue of three capitals is pending with the High Court, that they should be referred to the President. They further asserted that the proposal of three capitals and repeal of APCRDA were in violation of the AP Re-Organisation Act, 2014, which envisaged only one capital.
The Jagan Mohan Reddy government brought in the Decentralisation Bill to give shape to its plan of having three capitals. Further, the government proposed to divide the state into various zones and establish zonal planning and development boards for all round development of the state.
The APCRDA Act was passed on December 22, 2014, for development of the state capital post bifurcation with a specific area demarcated as the capital region. The then Telugu Desam government acquired 34,000 acres of land through APCRDA under a land pooling scheme for establishing the capital at Amaravati.