Wanchoo panel too favoured Vizag

The move to make Visakhapatnam the Executive capital comes as no surprise. About six decades ago, the Justice Wanchoo Committee had opined that the city is the best place to set up the capital.

Proper connectivity is ideal for the location of a capital, and Visakhapatnam, which has a functional international airport, a major railway junction and a major seaport, apart from the National Highway passing through the city, is a frontfunner for the capital.

Earlier this year, the Centre announced Visakhapatnam as the headquarters of the newly formed South Coast Railway (S Co R) zone. This will bring in a lot of economic activity to the region.

Direct flights are presently being operated from Visakhapatnam to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur apart from a flight to Dubai via Hyderabad. The introduction of more flights is being hindered by the lack of slots for civil aircraft as the Defence airport is also used by Military aircraft for their training and other requirements.

A new international airport has been proposed at Bhogapuram, in Vizianagaram district, about 45 km from the city, and once that comes up more flights can be introduced.

Wanchoo Committee

About six decades ago when the Government of India decided to establish Andhra State after bifurcation of the Telugu-speaking areas (excluding Madras city) of the then Madras State, it appointed Justice K.N. Wanchoo to submit a report on the ‘Financial and other Implications Relating to the Creation of the New Andhra State’.

Justice Wanchoo had toured Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry and Kakinada (East Godavari district), Vijayawada and Masulipatam (Krishna district), Guntur, Nellore and Tirupathi (Chittoor district) and Anantapur district.

In his report submitted to the Government of India in February 1953, Justice Wanchoo noted that Visakhapatnam was the only place in Andhra Desa, where the essential parts of the government could be shifted from Madras city at once. The essential parts are the Governors, the Legislature, the Ministers, the Secretariat and certain other essential Heads of Departments like the Inspector General of Police.

"Though Guntur is a central place to build the capital, it is a very hot place in summer. Visakhapatnam has already got a harbour and a university and is a city, which will grow whether the capital is placed there or not," the committee noted in its report.

Justice Wanchoo had also noted in his report that Visakhapatnam was the only place in the new State where a suitable residence could be found at short notice for the Governor. "The palaces of the Rajahs, which are lying vacant at Waltair (Visakhapatnam), could be allocated to the Governor," he noted.

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