AP Govt urged to build Amaravati as an inclusive capital

The Andhra Pradesh Government should make earnest efforts to build Amaravati as an inclusive capital, and not an exclusive one, as it should be accessible to people from all the 13 districts of the State, and it should also be affordable.

Several political leaders, experts and former bureaucrats said this here at a function organised to mark the release of a controversial book by the former chief secretary of the State - IYR Krishna Rao - on Amaravati entitled: ‘Amaravati: Whose capital is it ?’

The book kicked up a row in the State, as the former chief secretary was critical of the State Government’s approach in choosing the site for the new capital on the banks of river Krishna and also the methods adopted by it for constructing it. The book was released by Jana Sena leader and film star Pawan Kalyan.

He concurred with the observations of IYR Krishna Rao that Amaravati should be an inclusive capital. He said pooling of 33,000 acres of highly fertile land on the banks of Krishna was not warranted and he was quite surprised by the decision of the State Government.

"It was told that the farmers had given the land willingly and therefore I did not raise a protest at that time," he explained.

It may be noted that Pawan Kalyan supported the TDP-BJP combine in the State till recently and had fallen out with the TDP only recently.

Pawan Kalyan alleged that “Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu often proudly claims that he has built Cyberabad in Hyderabad during his earlier tenure and now he will build up Amaravati. But even during the construction of Cyberabad, only a few vested interests and private individuals derived huge benefit and that model should not be followed here. Amaravati should be a truly people’s capital."

V Sobhanadreeswara Rao, a former Telugu Desam leader and a former MP and minister, lashed out at the Telugu Desam Party and the Chief Minister for selling out to companies in Singapore and betraying the interests of the farmers in the Amaravati area and the people of the State. He alleged frauds in the construction of the capital.

P Madhu of CPM, and Ramakrishna of CPI alleged that Amaravati was being built as a corporate capital rather than a people's capital. U Arun Kumar, former MP of Rajahmundry, expressed apprehensions that Amaravati may become a ghost city.

In his response, Krishna Rao said Amaravati was chosen as the site for the new capital without any proper survey or study and in violation of the recommendations of the Sivaramakrishnan Committee.

On the propriety of his remaining silent when he was in office and raising the issues only after his retirement, he defended his decision to write the book.

"It is a fact that a bureaucrat would have to tow the line of the Government when he is in the job. He, or she, has no choice, but that does not mean he, or she, cannot hold an individual opinion. Especially, when the issue is of great public importance, what is wrong in voicing the view publicly ?" he asked.

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