Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has asserted that his government is committed to the idea of decentralisation and termed the Maha Padayatra taken out by Amaravati farmers as a “drama”, and an “artificial agitation” for a Capital that could never be built.
“The agitation is being led by capitalist forces who had never fought against the bifurcation of the State. For over 1,000 days, a drama is being played out supporting an artificial agitation for a Capital which exists only in graphics. The agitation is a drama aimed at hurting the pride and sentiments of other backward regions in the state. For these forces, Amaravati , a dream city which can never be built, is bigger than Hyderabad!” Mr. Jagan said while speaking during a short-term discussion on decentralisation on the opening day of the monsoon session at the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Thursday.
“I would like to make it clear again. I do not have any animosity towards the Vijayawada-Guntur region. I have not taken out the Capital and in fact, Amaravati is one of three Capitals and will be the seat of the Legislature. Even if I spend another ₹30,000 crore to ₹40,000 crore on this region with no basic infrastructure , I would never be able to provide even basic facilities like water, power and roads, etc. It is like chasing a wild dream! Andhra Pradesh extends to 1.62 lakh square spread across 3.96 crore acres and limiting all the resources to just 8 sq km radius is just sheer absurdity,” said Mr. Jagan.
Stating that the former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had spent just ₹5,5674 crore during 2014-2019 and left ₹2,297 crore as dues, Mr. Jagan said that it would take 100 years to invest ₹1.10 lakh crore in the Amaravati project and if we add inflation, the cost of providing basic amenities would alone soar to ₹20 lakh crore to ₹30 lakh crore.
The Chief Minister further said that he would be able to develop Visakhapatnam, a major port city, with just 10% of the estimated ₹1.10 lakh crore, the cost of providing basic trunk infrastructure in the Amaravati region.
“With just ₹10,000 crore, we can take Visakhapatnam to a new level. The city has all the facilities like wide roads, water, power and we just need to augment these facilities. I do not have any special love towards Visakhapatnam or lesser love towards Amaravati. I want people to think on these lines. The Opposition is trying to drive a wedge among different regions and the padayatra is aimed at stoking emotions among different sections,” Mr. Jagan said.
The Chief Minister further said that his government was committed to decentralisation in letter and spirit and added that through Direct Benefit Transfer, his government credited ₹1.65 lakh crore directly into the accounts of people through numerous welfare schemes.
“For a leader who had served 14 years as Chief Minister, it is ironic that Mr. Naidu was not able to implement a single welfare scheme for BC/SC/STs. We have implemented all the welfare schemes with the same budget of ₹2.20 lakh crore,” Mr. Jagan said.
The Chief Minister sprang a surprise by using PPT to show development works taken up in Vijayawada during the last three years and said that Mr. Naidu had failed to complete a single project.
Mr. Jagan said his government was now constructing western bypass road from China Avutapalli near Gannavaram to Gollapudi at a cost of ₹1,321 crore. A bridge across River Krishna was being built from Gollapudi to China Kakani on Chennai-Kolkata national highway. A retaining wall has been built to protect people from floods in river Krishna at a cost of ₹137 crore and Dr. B.R Ambedkar Memorial Park was being built on Swaraj Maidan grounds at ₹260 crore.