Amaravati: The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government on Monday passed a Bill in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, repealing the controversial AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, which was intended to establish three capitals for the state.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, however, told the Assembly that the government would come up with a ”complete, comprehensive and better” Bill to take forward his ”decentralised development” plan after explaining ”our genuine intention and the need for decentralisation” to all concerned and incorporating necessary changes.
The 2020 Act was being repealed to protect the larger interests of people, he claimed.
The Chief Minister did not utter the word Amaravati even once in his statement and only referred to it as “this region”.
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”In the last one-and-a-half to two years since we came up with the idea of decentralised development (read establishing three capitals), it has been distorted, twisted in many ways, misgivings were created, legal tangle was created. In the last two years, a false propaganda was carried out by raising an argument that it (three capitals) will cause injustice to some section,” Jagan alleged.
He claimed that the previous Chandrababu Naidu government’s decision to establish the state capital ”in this region” was controversial. ”It violated the Sri Krishna committee reported in all ways. Still, Chandrababu decided to build the capital here on 50,000 acres,” Jagan said.
Taking a defensive stance, Jagan said he had no antagonism towards ”this region”. ”I have a house here and I love this region,” he said.
The Chief Minister said at least Rs one lakh crore was required to create even basic infrastructure like roads and electricity at the rate of Rs two crore per acre.
”That is as per today’s rates. We don’t know if it takes ten years or more to mobilise Rs one lakh crore and by then the (development) cost could rise to Rs six lakh crore or Rs seven lakh crore,” he said.
”We are in such a situation where we don’t have money even for roads, drainage or power supply. Is then the imaginary picture called capital possible here?,” Jagan wondered. The Chief Minister pointed out that Visakhapatnam was the biggest city in the state.
”It has roads, drainage, electricity and all infrastructure. If we do some value-addition, Visakhapatnam will develop into a major city to compete with metros like Hyderabad in five or ten years, if not now,” he noted.
He said that the government wanted all three regions of the state to develop, considering the current realities.
”Hence, we wanted to set up Executive Capital in Visakhapatnam, Legislative Capital here (read Amaravati) and Judicial Capital in Kurnool, taking the aspirations of people into consideration,” he added.
Jagan claimed that the 2019 general election results reflected the people’s opposition to ”centralisation tendencies”.
”The people’s verdict made it clear that the government should not commit a historic mistake of creating a super capital model like Hyderabad again. We strongly believed that only the decentralisation policy was right and took steps accordingly,” Jagan added.
Earlier, Finance and Legislative Affairs Minister Buggana Rajendranath moved the repeal Bill, which was adopted by voice vote.
As part of the Bill, the AP Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Act, 2020, was also repealed, thereby reviving the APCRDA Act of 2014.
The only opposition party in the Assembly – Telugu Desam – stayed away from the House proceedings as per a pre-decided protest against the ‘insult’ meted out to its chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday.
Meanwhile, the High Court adjourned till Monday the hearing into the batch of writ petitions, challenging the Decentralisation Act.
In the morning, Advocate General S Subramaniam informed the High Court that the government has decided to withdraw the law.
The High Court division bench, headed by Chief Justice P K Mishra, asked the AG to file a detailed affidavit and adjourned the hearing till 2.30 pm.
In the meantime, the state Cabinet held an emergency meeting and cleared the Repeal Bill that was later introduced and passed in the Assembly.
When the hearing resumed, the AG informed the court of the development and sought an adjournment till Monday.