Panel on capital leaves final choice to AP govt.

The Sivaramakrishnan Committee submitted its report to the Union Home Ministry on Wednesday and stuck to its mandate of suggesting various alternatives for location of the capital of Andhra Pradesh and not one place.

It may come as a surprise for the Andhra Pradesh government which had been batting for Vijayawada- Guntur region as capital but K. C. Sivaramakrishnan, the former secretary of Urban Development, who headed the committee, had been repeatedly making it clear that it would only present options studying them from various angles from centrality, connectivity, availability of land and water and that the final choice was the prerogative of the State government/ political leadership.

The committee kept its word of submitting its report much before the deadline of August 31. Sources said the committee scrupulously avoided pin-pointing one place and suggested half dozen options in the main report presented today listing plus and minus points. A supplementary one dealing with finances may be sent in a day or two.

By and large the report, the sources said, reflected the general feeling among the members who included experts as K. T. Ravindran, Rathin Roy, Aromar Revi and Bhanu Joshi that the capital should not be one super city serving merely as a political hub. They preferred development of a string of cities that could be business, investment and industrial hubs, the number and size of which could be decided at political level.

Prof. Ravindran told The Hindu that the concept of having one big capital was quite outdated and hence the committee looked at a larger development landscape of involving more cities and regions. “We should look at the capital as something which will be there for hundreds of years and definitely not from short- term perspective. We should look at it from the 21 century model of decentralised development.” Asked for his choice of Indian city that could be adopted as a model for the capital Andhra Pradesh, he said it could be Bhubaneswar. The report was prepared by a technical committee of experts after an exhaustive study though the time was limited.

A challenging task

Admitting that it was quite challenging to acquire land, he emphasised that the committee was not in favour of large-scale takeover over of fertile agriculture land as it threatened food security in the long run. In fact that was one reason why the committee advocated smaller chunk of land for a functional capital and spreading various government offices to different cities.

Mr. Sivramakrishnan in his interaction with media persons last month had even cited the example of Hyderabad having all the 192 government departments in one place and asked: “Why should it be like that? Where is the need for having a department of ports or fisheries here?” he questioned, clearly indicating that the panel would pitch for a model of dispersed development. The administrative capital could be a place confined to two or three critical functions of running the affairs of the State, he added and the report, the sources said, reflected the concept.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 7:16:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/article11217768.ece

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