Andhra govt scraps controversial three-capital law

CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had planned to construct three state capitals - Amaravati as Legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as Executive capital, and Kurnool as Judicial capital.

Jagan, Jagan Mohan Reddy
CM Reddy's plan to have three capitals had sparked protests across the state.

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to withdraw the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, through which chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy was to construct three state capitals – Amaravati as Legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as Executive capital, and Kurnool as Judicial capital.

The law was being opposed by farmers in Amaravati as well as state opposition parties.

On Monday, Advocate General Subrahmanyam Sriram informed the Andhra Pradesh High Court of the government’s decision in an affidavit, saying that “Amaravati will be the sole capital of the state”, it was reported by Bar and Bench. The court was hearing petitions challenging the law.

The Reddy government had initially tried to justify its “three-capital” idea on the ground that it would lead to decentralisation of administration and equitable development of all regions.

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Also read: Politics over Amaravati: New alibis, bizarre reasons for shifting the capital

But the three capital cities are located nearly 400 km apart, and will throw up a plethora of administrative, economic, and logistical challenges for the government. While the port city of Visakhapatnam, the largest in the state, is located in the north coastal region, closer to Odisha, Kurnool is in the backward Rayalaseema region and Amaravati in the prosperous south coastal belt in the Vijayawada-Guntur region. Visakhapatnam and Kurnool are nearly 700 km apart.

Farmers, who gave up over 34,000 acres of fertile lands for setting up the Andhra capital in Amaravati, had challenged the law in court. Late last year, farmers of 29 villages in Guntur district had also staged protests calling for ‘One State-One Capital’.

“We believed that decentralisation of capital is much needed in Andhra Pradesh. Government is going to take back the Bill which was introduced earlier. We will introduce a new Bill with no errors,” CM Reddy said in the state legislative assembly on Monday.

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