The protest in Amaravati over YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government’s move to create three state capitals in Andhra Pradesh entered 200th day on Saturday with former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu stating that the Centre has the responsibility to save Amaravati.
Addressing a protest organized by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to mark the occasion, Naidu called upon people to continue ‘save Amaravati, save Andhra Pradesh’ movement.
Paying tributes to 64 farmers who died during the Amaravati movement, the TDP chief alleged that the Jaganmohan Reddy government hatched many conspiracies to kill new Andhra Pradesh’s capital Amaravati, which would have brought investment to the state and jobs to its people.
“Was it our mistake to build a state capital which the whole world should admire,” asked Naidu who wanted to build Amaravati as a world-class city.
The Singapore government had prepared the master plan for Amaravati, the foundation stone for which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2015.
Amaravati was planned to be developed on the banks of Krishna river at a cost of more than Rs 1 lakh crore. The farmers had given 33,000 acres of land for the development of the state capital under the land pooling scheme.
After Naidu’s TDP lost power in the elections last year, Jaganmohan Reddy had announced a review of all projects launched during TDP rule. Alleging insider trading in the development of Amaravati, the YSRCP government stopped all work in Amaravati and launched a probe.
It was in December last year that the Jagan government decided to develop three state capitals, shifting some capital functions from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam and Kurnool. It announced that Amaravati will continue as the legislative capital while Visakhapatnam and Kurnool will be developed as executive and judicial capitals respectively.
Alleging that the move would harm their interests, Amaravati farmers have been staging protests against the government’s decision. They are demanding that Amaravati be developed as the only state capital.
The former chief minister recalled that his government had embarked on developing Amaravati as the state capital as it was centrally located.
Naidu said the TDP government-built buildings for Assembly, Secretariat, High Court and Raj Bhavan. He said 72 percent of work on MLA and MLC quarters was also completed. He revealed that Rs 9,000 crore was spent on all the work.
Naidu claimed that 139 companies had come forward to make investments in Amaravati and this would have created thousands of jobs.
He alleged that the Jagan government tried to suppress the Amaravati movement and used repressive measures against the protestors including women. The leader of opposition said the government violated human rights.
Meanwhile, barring YSRCP, leaders of all political parties addressed a virtual rally organized by Amaravati Joint Action Committee (JAC) spearheading the protest. They assured their continued support to the people’s movement and urged the Jagan government to withdraw its three capitals move.
YSRCP rebel MP Raghurama Krishna Raju also addressed the rally. Extending his support to the Amaravati movement, Raju said three capitals were not part of YSRCP’s election manifesto.
The Narsapuram MP urged the government to respect the sentiments of people of Amaravati and drop its move to develop two more capitals. “Government is a continuous process. As 80 percent of the capital works were completed in Amaravati, the government should not shift the capital,” Raju said.