No reprieve yet for Amaravati farmers

No reprieve yet for Amaravati farmers
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No reprieve yet for Amaravati farmers

Highlights

Seems, an age of enlightenment has dawned on the country. Governments are furiously reworking their decisions and moves, albeit in their own interests.

Seems, an age of enlightenment has dawned on the country. Governments are furiously reworking their decisions and moves, albeit in their own interests. First came the big announcement from the Centre that it would withdraw the contentious three farm laws. Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on air to declare the other day that the move was being rolled back and he apologised to the country for not being able to convince the farmers of the good the new laws would do to them.

Now is the turn of the Andhra Pradesh government which has gone ahead and announced withdrawal of the three Capitals move. It decided to withdraw the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, which was intended to have three capitals for the State. The State Cabinet which met in the Legislative Assembly on Monday took a decision to this effect. Advocate General S Sriram informed the AP High Court, where a batch of petitions challenging the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the AP Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bills, 2020, is being heard on a daily basis since last week about the same, sparking celebrations in pro-Amaravati sections.

However, the withdrawal as announced by the Chief Minister came with a rider. He was categorical in declaring the government's intent on the issue. He reiterated his view that development would not be possible, of all the regions, without decentralisation. He only said, "we shall reintroduce reworked bills addressing all Constitutional and Legal challenges aptly and in consultation with all stakeholders to convince them." There is much to read in between the lines here. If any, the move is only temporary and not yet a relief to the Amaravati farmers agitating since a year, if the government is going to do that. The decision of the government to go back on the three Capitals could be the result of anything. It could be just political like seeking time to take stock of the situation in the backdrop of the BJP too jumping into the Amaravati farmers agitation. Or it could be more to rectify the flaws in it to ward off the judicial threat.

The AP High Court has been hearing the case on a daily basis now. It is looking into the contentions against the insufficiencies in the Bills introduced by the government. Hence, this is not yet time for celebration for those opposing the move. Jagan Mohan Reddy was keen to move the Administrative Capital to Visakhapatnam and make Kurnool the Judicial Capital retaining Amaravati as the Legislative Capital. The decision got mired in controversies and ended in legal tangles the day he made the move. Developments deteriorated to an extent where the State government even dared to target the present Chief Justice of India, N V Ramana (who was a Justice then of the SC), along with a few other brother judges of the AP High Court. The farmers who donated 33,000 acres of their lands for Amaravati too knocked on the doors of the High Court. All said and done, one should welcome the government move as it "intends to consult all the stakeholders and convince them" before introducing the new Bills. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, "a democracy prejudiced, ignorant, superstitious, will land itself in chaos and may be self-destroyed. Democracy only exists in trust."

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