Will Andhra Pradesh have four regional capitals?

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Amaravati, Aug 26 (IANS) Amid uncertainty over the future of Amaravati as Andhra Pradesh’s capital, a BJP MP has claimed that Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is planning to build four regional capitals.
Rajya Sabha member T.G. Venkatesh claimed that YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government may prefer to develop capitals in four different regions to ensure the state’s all-round development.
Unlike his predecessor N. Chandrababu Naidu who had prepared grand plans to develop Amaravati as one of the best cities in the world, Jagan Reddy is not in favor of locating everything at one place.
According to Venkatesh, Jagan Reddy discussed his proposal with some senior leaders of BJP in New Delhi.
The MP said he learnt from one of the BJP leaders that Jagan Reddy will go for four capitals but declined to name the leader.
The four capitals are likely to be developed are Vizianagaram for the north-coastal Andhra zone; Kakinada for East and West Godavari districts; Guntur for the south coastal Andhra; and Kadapa for Rayalaseema.
As Amaravati comes under Guntur district, whatever buildings constructed so far may be used for one of the capitals.
Venkatesh also hinted that the Chief Minister might scrap the State Planning Board and propose four regional boards. These boards may be headed by the Deputy Chief Ministers.
Jagan Reddy has five Deputy Chief Ministers.
Venkatesh, who hails from Kurnool in Rayalaseema region, believes regional capitals would ensure development of all regions. “Centralization of administration may create problems and spark demands for statehood by different regions. Decentralization will be the right move,” he said.
The YSRCP, however, declined to comment on Venkatesh’s claim. “Ask him,” quipped state Urban Development Minister Botsa Satyanarayana when his reaction was sought on the BJP MP’s claim.
Venkatesh, who recently defected to the BJP from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), stated Jagan Reddy was keen to ensure development of all regions and hence he mooted the four capital proposal.
Venkatesh revealed this at a time when contradictory statements by ministers and YSRCP leaders have created confusion on whether the capital will be shifted from Amaravati.
Ever since the YSRCP came to power in May, all works on various components of the capital came to a halt as it decided to review the contracts given by the previous TDP government.
Satyanarayana recently stated that the region along Krishna river is flood-prone and hence there is a need to reconsider Amaravati as the capital.
He later claimed that his statement was distorted by a section of media, and the government would soon announce its policy.
Some YSRCP leaders denied any move to shift the capital but hinted that it would not be on the grand scale planned by then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
Naidu had drawn plans to build dream capital at a cost of Rs.1.5 lakh crore in three phases.
Works worth Rs 38,000 crore were going on when the state went into election mode in March this year.
Naidu’s government had acquired 33,000 acres of land from farmers under land pooling system for building the state capital.
Jagan Reddy, as the then Leader of Opposition, had opposed forcibly acquiring the fertile lands from farmers. He also alleged a big land scam in Amaravati.
He alleged that Naidu and those close to him resorted to “insider trading” by buying prime lands at throw away prices before announcing that the state capital will come up at Amaravati.
He also set up a panel to probe irregularities in awarding the works to various companies by the previous government.

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