Chandrababu Naidu's return gives new life to his dream project Amaravati

 - Sakshi Post

Amaravati, June 11 (IANS) The return of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to power in Andhra Pradesh has brought the spotlight back on Amaravati, giving new hope to farmers and others, who had been fighting for more than four years against the previous YSRCP government's move to shift the state capital.

The return of N. Chandrababu Naidu, who envisioned Amaravati on the banks of the Krishna River as a dream capital and world-class city about a decade ago, has brought cheers to those waging a relentless fight to demand the development of Amaravati as the only state capital.

The landslide victory of the TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance and Chandrababu Naidu's announcement that Amaravati is the state capital has come as a big relief for farmers, who had given 33,000 acres of land for development of the state capital in the hope of a bright future.

However, their dreams were shattered after the previous YSRCP government announced that the administrative capital would be shifted to Visakhapatnam.

Even before the swearing-in of the new state government, authorities started laying the ground for the resumption of works on the greenfield capital city after a gap of five years.

Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) has started clearing bushes and shrubs around important buildings in Amaravati to signal that the new government will go for a full-scale resumption of works.

The CRDA employed dozens of workers and roped in 83 cranes and tippers to clear bushes around the Secretariat, High Court, Seed Access Road and under-construction buildings like residential quarters for ministers, judges and legislators.

The works on residential quarters and other components of the mega project came to a halt in December 2019 after the YSRCP government reversed the decision of the earlier TDP government to develop Amaravati as the state capital.

Neerabh Kumar Prasad, who took over as the State Chief Secretary four days ago, is overseeing the works currently underway to know the status of the different components of the project.

On December 17, 2023, protests by farmers and women of Amaravati completed four years.

It was on December 17, 2019, that the then Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced in the state Assembly that three state capitals will be developed reversing the decision of the previous TDP government to develop Amaravati as the state capital.

The government planned to develop Visakhapatnam as the administrative capital, Kurnool as the judicial capital and Amaravati only as a legislative capital.

The farmers were up in arms and legally challenged the move.

Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi (APS), which is spearheading the movement against three capitals, undertook two padayatra during the last two years to mobilise public support for their demand.

On March 3, 2022, the Andhra Pradesh High Court directed the state government to develop Amaravati as the state capital in six months.

In November 2022, the Supreme Court while hearing the Special Leave Petition filed by the state government, stayed the High Court's directions to develop infrastructure in Amaravati within a stipulated time frame.

The Supreme Court, however, did not stay the other part of the judgement, which had declared Amaravati as the state capital and that the law on three capitals was not valid.

The new government is likely to resume works from Uddandarayunipalem, the place where the foundation stone was laid in October 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chandrababu Naidu had got the master plan for Amaravati prepared by Singapore.

With nine theme cities and 27 townships, it was planned in an area of 217 square km as a world-class city.

Designed not merely as an administrative capital but as an economic and job-creating hub and tourism centre, it was planned to be developed in three phases -- seed area or core capital, capital city and capital region.

Amaravati then attracted the attention of investors from countries like Australia, Japan, Germany, Singapore and Britain.

Naidu's grandiose plans to build the state capital require an estimated Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Works worth Rs 38,000 crore on projects like roads and state secretariat complex were launched in 2018.

Ever since he came to power in 2019, Jagan Mohan Reddy has been saying that people's welfare and not Amaravati are his priority.

Alleging a big land scam in Amaravati, Jagan had claimed that Chandrababu Naidu and other leaders of TDP resorted to insider trading as they were privy to the information where the new capital was going to be located and purchased prime land at throwaway prices.

The new TDP government put on hold all the works in Amaravati, citing the irregularities committed by the previous YSRCP government in awarding contracts.

The construction activity came to a grinding halt and created an atmosphere of uncertainty, leading to a big slump in land prices.

The World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) were the first to pull out of a project to fund Amaravati's development.

The World Bank and AIIB had committed $300 million and $200 million, respectively, for the project.

The biggest blow came when a consortium of Singapore companies closed the Amaravati Capital City Startup Project, the agreement for which was signed by the then TDP government.

The government said they mutually decided to cancel the project as the consortium had failed to respond to the concerns raised.

Unfazed by Chandrababu Naidu's criticism that the government is killing a golden goose, YSRCP leaders said that during his five-year rule, only five per cent of works were completed by spending Rs 4,900 crore.

The worst affected by the government's move were farmers of Amaravati, who had been given 33,000 acres of land for building the capital after the government's assurance to return them to developed property.

Anger and unrest had gripped 29 villages of Guntur district.

An estimated 24,000 farmer families had taken to the streets as their hopes of a bright future were shattered.

The real estate market, which was booming till early 2019, came crashing with the land value falling by more than 50 per cent.

Thousands of workers, including a large number of migrants, from states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were rendered jobless.

Farmers, who voluntarily gave lands ranging from half an acre to 50 acres, were left in the lurch as they felt that Jagan Mohan Reddy did this out of vengeance towards Chandrababu Naidu.

For every acre of cultivable land, the farmers were promised 1,000 square yards of residential plots and 250 square yards of commercial plots with all the infrastructure.

They were also promised Rs.50,000 annuity per acre with an annual hike of 10 per cent.

Nearly all the farmers received the allotment papers but their dreams of owning developed plots remained on paper with the change of government in 2019.

YSRCP's crushing defeat in the 2024 elections and the return of TDP have raised new hope among them.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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