Andhra Pradesh cabinet defers decision on relocating state capital

The government had engaged the international consultancy firm to study various aspects related to the development of the state capital. Photo: PTI File.

The Andhra Pradesh cabinet on Friday (December 27) deferred taking a decision on relocating the state capital after Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy reportedly told his colleagues there was no hurry to undertake the exercise, which has created some unrest among people.

Before firming up its decision on the capital and related issues, the government would constitute another high-powered committee to study the report of the expert committee and also the soon to be submitted report of an international consultancy firm, Cabinet sources said.

Though there was anticipation that the government might take a decision on the capital, based on a report submitted by a six-member committee of experts, headed by retired IAS officer G N Rao, the Cabinet only decided to wait for the report of the Boston Consulting Group, the sources said.

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The Cabinet, however, discussed the recommendations of the G N Rao committee.

The government had engaged the international consultancy firm to study various aspects related to the development of the state capital, the costs involved and other factors. BCG had submitted an interim report to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy a few days ago, suggesting that a brownfield capital would be best suited rather than a greenfield capital which involves huge costs.

The BCG reportedly referred to the capitals of various countries like Brazil, Sri Lanka and how they were developed. “For a state like ours, the BCG felt a brownfield capital will do, where the cost of development will be minimal, a top official said.

BCG is expected to submit its final report on January 3, 2020, after which the government will constitute a high-powered committee with bureaucrats to analyse the reports of the G N Rao committee and the international consultancy firm.

The high-powered committee will submit its recommendations to the state government, based on which a final call on the state capital and related issues will be taken, according to Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani). “We will also take the views of the farmers, who gave up fertile agricultural land for the development of Amaravati and listen to their grievances before taking a final call on the capital issue,” Nani told a media briefing after a cabinet meeting.

The Chief Minister had indicated on December 17 that Andhra Pradesh could have three capitals, on the lines of South Africa, as decentralization was a real concept. The existing capital Amaravati, which is only in the basic stages of development, could become the Legislative Capital, port city Visakhapatnam the Executive Capital and Kurnool the Judiciary Capital, he had hinted.

This, however, triggered an agitation in the Amaravati region with farmers who had given up their land for the proposed capital city taking to the streets demanding that the government drop its plan to relocate AP’s capital.

Opposition parties too have opposed the Chief Ministers idea.

(With inputs from agencies)