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Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy hinted in the Legislative Assembly recently that there was nothing wrong in having the capital at three places, similar to the South African model. He hinted that the High Court could be based in Kurnool, Amaravati could continue to be the Legislative capital and Visakhapatnam the Executive capital.The idea received both flak and appreciation from various quarters.
But if we go back into the history of the formation of Andhra Pradesh State, this idea is connected to the history and is a nostalgic one. The first reference of decentralisation was made in the Sri Bagh pact, which was signed by the then political leaders from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema on November 16, 1937.
According to the pact, for a balanced decentralisation, it was decided to continue with Andhra University in Visakhapatnam and the High Court and the capital be divided between the two regions.
Sri Krishna panel: The advantages and qualities of Visakhapatnam to become the capital was discussed not only in the Sri Bagh pact but was also elaborately deliberated by the Sri Krishna Committee, which was formed by Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India, to study the alternatives for a new capital for the State of Andhra Pradesh.
Coming to suggestion for the alternative capital, the Sri Krishna Committee primarily took up three things for consideration — creation of single city or super city in greenfield location, expanding existing cities and distributed development.
The Committee however did not consider a single large capital city as a feasible option available to Andhra Pradesh as of then. But the State government had pushed the VGTM (Vijayawada, Guntur, Tenali, Mangalagiri) area for development.
Visakhapatnam was in the radar, as it was felt that it has all the requirements. "Vizag, always had been the biggest city, after Hyderabad, even in the combined State. One should understand that government cannot build cities, it can build infrastructure and it is the people who build the cities," said Prof. K.C. Reddy, former Chairman of APSCHE.
According to Prof. K.C. Reddy, the argument that Vizag is in one corner does not hold water, as cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai are located in corners of the States. "In the present digital world, connectivity and communication is not an issue. And the initial hiccups or teething problems can be easily ironed out," he said. Moreover, Visakhapatnam is the IT hub of the State, this should stand as an advantage, he added.
Decentralisation : "The idea is not new. It was elaborately described in the Sri Bagh pact. The pact clearly defined decentralisation, for the benefit of all three main regions such as Coastal AP, Godavari and Krishna districts and Rayalaseema," said former Rector of Andhra University A. Prasanna Kumar.
Land: According to government records, there is about 10,000 acres of government land. "Land is not an issue, as the requirement to set up a few new offices and quarters will not exceed 2,000 to 3,000 acres," said a senior officer from the Revenue Department.
Most of the experts and intellectual are of the opinion that the decision is a win-win situation both for the government and the city. For more interesting and latest updates please subscribe to our channel #MyraMedia.
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