VIJAYAWADA: The YSR Congress has speeded up its counter- strategy to remove legal hurdles in the way of its aims of decentralised development of the state. The Jagan-led government amended the APCRDA act to give house lands to outsiders in Amaravati and it proposed to amend the Amaravati Master Plan and its related development plans.
Recently, the government filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the AP high court orders that backed the development of Amaravati as sole capital. Now, the government is going further on its policy decision to have 3 capitals by conducting public meetings against the former TD government’s concept of centralised Amaravati development.
Severe objections are coming from Amaravati farmers against the APCRDA act amendment and they are readying to approach court, seeking justice.
The government is bent on countering every move against its resolve for decentralized development.
The AP Assembly, on the last day of its monsoon session, passed a bill to amend the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act, 2014, and the Metropolitan Region and Urban Development Authorities (MRUDA) Act, 2016. By doing so, the phrase social (affordable) housing for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), including any scheme of the state government or the Union of India, had been inserted in the CRDA Act. This provides for allotment of sites for the construction of houses in the capital city.
Further, the amendment to the MRUDA Act enables the government to make modifications to the capital city perspective plan, the master and infrastructure plans and the area and zonal development plans on its own, or with a reference from the local body concerned or from the person-in-charge where an elected body does not exist, or based on an application from a land owner.”
The pro-Amaravati supporters including farmers were on a Padayatra to Arasavilli for the past two months, seeking Amaravati as the solo capital. The amendment came as a rude shock to them.
The previous TD government of Chandrababu Naidu had put strong norms in the APCRDA, which cannot be changed or amended without public opinion. This proved to be a big hurdle to the present government. Its efforts to give house sites to the poor were also badly affected due to the hard norms.
The Jagan government, in January last, proposed to develop Amaravati as a Municipal Corporation with 19 villages. But a majority of the people there, who were hardcore supporters of Telugu Desam, rejected the proposal.
Recently, from 12 to 17 September, the Jagan government once again tried to establish the Amaravati Municipal Corporation with 22 villages, but there again was a bitter result of refusal at the public opinion meetings. Hence the government decided to amend the act under which the consent of local village panchayats or person in-charge of the villages was cited as the only requirement to amend the previous act.
“There were no elected bodies in the Amaravati villages and hence the government can take the opinion of village incharges, paving the way to amend Amaravati Master Plan and further to establish the Amaravati Municipal Corporation, the amendment stated.
Political analysts note that the Jagan government had earlier issued GOs to give house sites to the poor in Amaravati, but those orders were dismissed by the AP high court citing the APCRDA norms. Now that the government successfully amended the APCRDA with a majority vote in the assembly and Council, this will help distribute house sites to at least 50,000 people in Amaravati. This would also strengthen the YSRC base in Amaravati.
The analysts also noted that Jagan Reddy will take forward the dedication of the YSRC government towards development of all regions through the 3-Capitals formula in the next 20 months under his Mission Election 2024 strategy.
Minister for municipal administration and urban development, Adimulapu Suresh, said the government is committed to developing Amaravati as the Legislative Capital and hence started efforts including making an amendment to the act.
CPM secretary Babu Rao said the amendments made to the CRDA Act were anti-democratic and it was unconstitutional to abolish the power of the gram sabhas and transfer the decision-making power to the bureaucracy. “After the high court has given a clear verdict in the matter of state capital, it is necessary for the goverment to respect it and it is not appropriate to amend the law, contrary to the verdict of the high court,” he argued.
Pro-Amaravati farmer leaders stated they will approach the AP high court seeking quashing of the amendments.