Decision on the new capital should be a democratic process: C. Raghavachari

The Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri (VGTM) region should become the commercial or financial hub of Seemandhra, in the event of the State getting bifurcated. This was the opinion of the majority of experts who participated in a seminar on ‘Bifurcation of the State - and finding a new capital’, organised by the Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), here on Thursday.

People were invited from various fields to participate in the deliberations. They all favoured a unified Andhra Pradesh, but came out with their views on location of the new capital also. Former Visalandhra Editor C. Raghavachari opined that the decision on the new capital should be a democratic process.

“The people’s opinion should be considered,” he said, but he was quick to add that lobbying should not be neglected. “The TRS leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao was successful in pitching for Telangana, because of a strong lobby,” he said.

“Vijayawada not only has a good track record and history for culture and economics but also has a glorious political past,” he noted.

Former Mayor Jandhyala Shankar opined that the land selection for the new capital should not be a political decision but should be a scientific decision.

“Images from the satellite should be considered by an expert committee, for finalising the location,” he said.

Entrepreneur Jogulamba Prasad said that the decision on the bifurcation was an undemocratic one. “The broad consensus is missing,” she said.

From the legal fraternity, G. Rajendra Prasad pointed out that people were under the misconception that they would take the T Bill to the court under the Article 317 D. “We can go to court only when the President of India publishes a gazette notification declaring the bifurcation,” he said.

AP Lorry Owners Association Secretary Y.V. Easwar Rao pointed out that the location for the new capital should not be based on regional bias or clout.

“VGTM is centrally located and tops the index. If not the political capital, it should be made at least the commercial capital,” he said.

Confederation of Indian Industry representative V.V.M. Krishna and a few others opined that VGTM should be given the duty-free zone status to make it a commercial hub.

ACCI Secretary Prasad R Chukkapalli informed the gathering that a presentation prepared by the ACCI and School of Planning and Architecture - Vijayawada, has already been submitted to the GoM, showcasing Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri’s potential as capital.

ACCI President Muthavarapu Muralikrishna said that though Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri had topped the index chart when compared to other cities, the proposal advocated a decentralised development across Seemandhra.