Andhra Assembly passes bill to repeal Act relating to 3 capitals

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Monday passed a bill to repeal the controversial AP Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, which aimed to establish three capitals for the state.

Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy told the assembly that a more ‘comprehensive, complete and better’ decentralization bill would be brought for the welfare of the people, thus protecting the larger interest of the citizens of the state.

“Our intention of decentralized development of the state has been distorted and a false information has been started. Also, legal hurdles were created and court cases were filed,” news agency PTI quoted the Chief Minister as saying. “

Jagan also said that the government will inform all concerned about their intention and need for decentralization and will incorporate necessary changes in the new bill.

Amidst the ongoing row of three capitals, the chief minister announced earlier in the day that the state would have only one capital – Amaravati. Advocate General S. Shri Ram informed the High Court about the Chief Minister’s decision during the ongoing hearing on the capital Amaravati.

With this announcement, the state cabinet decided to withdraw the Three Capitals Bill and inform the High Court about the decision.

The YSRCP government has proposed three separate capitals for the state, Amaravati as a legislative capital, Visakhapatnam an executive and Kurnool the judicial capital.

Last year, the Union Home Ministry had informed the Andhra Pradesh High Court that the state capital was a matter to be decided by the state government, adding that the Center had no role in it.

In a case filed in 2018 between petitioner Potluri Srinivasa Rao and respondent Union of India and others, Lalita T. Hedao filed a counter-affidavit in the AP High Court.

The counter affidavit mentions that under Section 6 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, the Central Government on March 28, 2014, K.C. Sivaramakrishnan will study the options for a new capital for the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The panel submitted its report on 30 August the same year, which was sent to the AP government two days later on 1 September. The affidavit mentions that the state government, on April 23, 2015, issued an order renaming the capital city as ‘Amravati’. It further states that, ‘The capital of a state is decided by the respective state government. The central government has no role in this.”

The affidavit also mentioned that the Government of AP through the Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, which was published in the State Gazette Notification on 31/07/2020, has provided that the governance in the State will have three seats and should be called Rajdhani. Accordingly, the Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Area will be called the ‘Legislative Capital’, the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Area as the ‘Executive Capital’ and the Kurnool Urban Development Area as the ‘Judicial Capital’.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh BJP leader YS Chowdhury last week said that his party supports the demand to declare Amaravati as the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

“On behalf of the BJP, we have passed a resolution to support Amaravati as the capital of Andhra Pradesh. The YSRCP government announced that the state would have three capitals without any authority to do so. Support of local farmers To those who have given land for development, the BJP will support them and will see that the capital remains in Amaravati,” Chowdhury said.

“We demand from CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy that Amaravati be continued as the capital before 2019 as per the unanimous decision on the floor of the assembly by all parties. We express our open support to the farmers and the state government. We respect their agreements with the government to build a new capital at Amaravati,” he said.