In the wake of renewed buzz over shifting of Executive Capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam and top leaders from the YSR Congress Party government hinting at likely shift of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in the near future, here is an explainer on the three capital issue of Andhra Pradesh.
What is Decentralisation Act?
The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020 is meant to have three seats of governance, namely Legislative, Executive and Judicial Capitals.
The AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) has been converted into Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Authority consequent to the passage of the APCRDA Repeal Act, 2020.
Why three capitals?
The YSR Congress Party government wanted to decentralise the administration by having three capitals with a firm opinion that they will give a fillip to the development of the north coastal districts, the coastal stretch from West Godavari to Nellore and backward Rayalaseema.
The present government was also of the view that the grandiose capital plan of the previous government was unaffordable in the current economic scenario.
When was it decided?
Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan gave his assent to the relevant Bills in July, 2020.
The Bills were initially passed in the Assembly in January 2020 but were then referred by the Legislative Council to a select committee, which was not formed due to the deep discord between the ruling and opposition parties. They were passed in the Legislative Assembly for the second time in June 2020.
Where are the proposed seats of authority?
The existing State Legislature Complex will remain at Velagapudi in Guntur district and the region will be called Legislative Capital. The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) and offices of all HoDs will be shifted from Amaravati to the Executive Capital (Visakhapatnam).
The principal seat of the AP High Court situated at Nelapadu in Guntur district is to be moved to Kurnool which will be the Judicial Capital.
Controversy and legal battle
The Acts were challenged in the High Court by farmers and a few hearings were conducted under the aegis of the then Chief Justice J.K. Maheswari.
The situation had returned to square one after Chief Justice J.K. Maheswari was transferred and replaced by Arup Kumar Goswami as the cases had to be heard from scratch again.
The farmers are vehemently opposing the proposed three capitals having given their multi-crop lands under the ‘pooling scheme’ for the construction of the greenfield capital city.