Vijayawada: Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has taken a calculated political risk by formally enacting a law establishing three capitals in the state — legislative, executive and judicial — in Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool respectively.
Till now, the YSRC government had sought to project that certain capital functions would be decentralised and spread out. Retired bureaucrat, G.N. Rao, whose committee had recommended the decentralisation of administration, had told mediapersons that a few capital functions would only be performed from Visakha-patnam, which could not be equated with the shifting of capital.
But Chief Minister Reddy went ahead with introducing a Bill in the State Assembly on Mon-day, which clearly stated that the government would have three seats of governance. It is for the first time after the bifurcation of state that Andhra Pradesh government gave any legislative backing to the location of a capital.
Former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had avoided officially notifying Amaravati as a state capital in the Assembly till he stepped down.
Significantly, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government went ahead with the Bills for new capitals as well as repealing the Capital Reg-ion Development Auth-ority (CRDA) Act, even before the AP High Court-set deadline of 2.30 pm on Monday to receive grievances from farmers ended. The matter was brought to the court’s notice, but no order was passed.
The state administration, however, is divided over the procedure to be followed post enactment for locating new capitals.
“The Raj Bhavan, principal seat of executive, has to be re-located and this requires a notification from the Centre. Secondly, the Bill introduced on Monday says that relocation of the principal seat of High Court would be done in accordance with the procedure prescribed under the AP Reorgani-sation Act, 2014. The same procedure has to be followed for the remaining two capitals,” a senior bureaucrat involved in drafting the Reorgani-sation Act explained.
The AP Reorganisation Act declared that Hyde-rabad would remain joint capital till 2024 and the Centre would initiate the process of locating a new capital for AP by appointing a committee.
Accordingly, the Siva-ramakrishnan Committee was appointed but the process was abruptly ended with Mr Naidu deciding to build Amar-avati as capital.
Sources in CMO, however, said adequate care was taken to avoid legal tussle. “If the procedure requires Centre’s clearance, we will get it,” a senior official said. Apparently to strengthen its case, the state heavily banked on recommendations of the Sivaramakrishnan Co-mmittee in building its theory for decentralisation of administration.
Finance minister B. Rajendranath Reddy slammed former AP chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu for going against the recommendations of the Sivaramakrishnan Committee on forming a new capital for AP.
“Mr Chandrababu Naidu had done the exact opposite of what the Sivaramakrishnan Committee had recommended. The committee had opposed damaging the ecosystem and destroying agricultural fields for a new capital. We want to rectify the previous govenrment’s actions by following the recommendations of various committees, including Sivaramakrishnan,” finance minister B. Rajendranath Reddy said.