‘Most of the capital cities are not centrally located in their respective States’

Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Guwahati, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, and Dehradun have one thing in common. Any guess?

All of them are capital cities, but are not centrally located in geographical terms in their respective States.

This disproves the theory being propagated by some vested political interests, who want Vijayawada to be the capital, that Visakhapatnam, despite all its inherent advantages, has disadvantages location-wise.

Backwardness

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs and Panchayat Raj V. Kishore Chandra Deo has stated in no uncertain terms in his memorandum to the Chairman of the Group of Ministers that the “only suitable location for the capital in the event of division is Visakhapatnam.”

This is not all. The North Andhra region, comprising Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam districts, had remained backward during the six decades after Independence as no major irrigation project was constructed in the region.

As per information obtained by A. Bhagavanulu, president of Uttarandhra Rashtriya Samithi (URS), under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, “Over 160 major, medium, and minor irrigation projects each in South coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions in Seemandhra had been constructed till 2007. North Andhra has only two medium and 10 minor irrigation projects.”

Discrimination

The amount spent on construction of irrigation projects was Rs.31,000 crore in South coastal Andhra, Rs.59,182 crore in Rayalaseema, and a meagre Rs.2,450 crore in Uttarandhra. Farmers were made to depend on rainfall for irrigation, and it was no surprise that they sow only a single crop in a year as against two crops in Rayalaseema and three in South coastal Andhra. “The distance from Visakhapatnam to Vijayawada is 410 km, and from there to Kurnool it is 175 km. This means, the distance from Visakhapatnam to Kurnool is less than 600 km, and there is no reason why it should lose out on that count,” says Prof. Bhagavanulu.

‘A lesson in the offing’

The presence of the only international airport in the Seemandhra region, railway divisional headquarters earning an annual revenue of Rs.2,600 crore more than the Vijayawada Division, the presence of heavy industries, and cosmopolitan culture unlike in South coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema make Visakhapatnam the preferred choice.

Minister for Tribal Welfare P. Balaraju has already demanded that Visakhapatnam be made the capital. But, there are other peoples’ representatives from the region who have either remained silent or have joined chorus with their counterparts in South coastal Andhra for locating the capital of the residuary State after bifurcation elsewhere. “The betrayers will be taught a lesson in the next elections,” says Prof. Bhagavanulu.

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