Any move to shift AP capital will be a blunder
Construction of capital city of Amravati is certainly not on the priority list of the Andhra Pradesh State...
Construction of capital city of Amravati is certainly not on the priority list of the Andhra Pradesh State government and this was amply made clear as it allocated only Rs 500 crore in the Budget 2091-20 for the purpose. That is understandable because every government will have its own priorities and one cannot question them.
But what has come as a surprise was the comment of the Minister for Municipal Administration Botsa Satyanarayana that there was a possibility of shifting the capital and that the matter was being discussed within the party as lot of money has to be spent on Amravati.
This has fuelled strong speculations in the State that Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy would dump Amravati as State capital and has triggered strong reactions from both people and political parties.
In fact, Opposition party leaders say that in United Andhra Pradesh, Volkswagen company was lost and now it seems Andhra Pradesh will lose Amravati. Hopefully the government will not resort to such an extreme step just because it was the brainchild of Jagan's predecessor Chandrababu Naidu.
The government always has the right to review any scheme or any project and make necessary amendments if it feels that the previous government had indulged in irregularities or if it had squandered money.
Some people feel that Jagan may not go ahead with the construction of iconic structures or world class capital but will certainly construct the core city capital with basic infrastructure since he has been opposed to grandiose plans since beginning.
Amravati has been the State capital for the past five years and has been recognised globally as well. Any change in the capital city could affect the identity and brand image of the State. The Chief Minister who is showcasing the State during his present US visit has been asking people to invest in AP but has never given any indication that he intends to shift the capital city.
It is only some leaders who have been claiming that there is such a proposal. Some senior party leaders say that Jagan was well aware that Vijayawada in south coastal Andhra was best suited for the capital in all aspects.
In fact, even in the State Assembly, when the TDP government moved a resolution announcing Amravati as the capital city, Jagan's main objection was over the alleged inside trading and not in regard to the location. Hence the YSRCP may not go in for that kind of misadventure.
Another factor which speaks in favour of Amravati is the World Bank website which had shown Amravati as Sustainable Infrastructure and Institutional Development Project. The previous government has already constructed temporary Secretariat building, Assembly and High Court buildings.
It also launched city's first mega housing project Happy Nest which consists of 12 towers and 1,200 flats in Nelapadu. The TDP government had raised Amravati bonds which were oversubscribed and over Rs 2,000 crore funds were mobilised for infrastructure development of the capital city.
The only reason cited by the Minister was that the area appears to be flood prone cannot qualify to take a major decision to shift the capital city. But if it is done, it would mean that AP will have to start development from the scratch which certainly at this stage is neither desirable nor advisable.