Where is Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, wondered many after the latest map of India released by the Centre after Article 370 was officially abrogated with the formation of new Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, was issued. All states were marked with their capitals, with Andhra Pradesh being the sole exception.
But no, the Centre cannot be blamed for the miss because it was only following the rule book. According to the AP Bifurcation Act, Hyderabad is the common administrative capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh till 2024. So any change in the India map can happen only after that.
But then, Chandrababu Naidu had moved out his entire administration to Amaravati in the middle by 2016. In fact, his successor Jaganmohan Reddy has even handed over the blocks occupied by the Andhra Pradesh government at the State Secretariat in Hyderabad, to the Telangana government.
So why is Amaravati where Naidu got Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lay the foundation stone in October 2015, not mentioned on the map? Technical reasons, say those in the know.
Even though Naidu moved around the globe – from Singapore to Japan to the UK – discussing grandiose plans for building the capital with architects and other experts, the Andhra Municipal Administration minister Botsa Satyanarayana points out he never notified the capital city through a gazette notification. This meant Amaravati was never the capital on paper, it remained capital only in Naidu’s glitzy power point presentations.
Not that Naidu did not make an effort in that direction. Early in December 2014, the TDP government notified 7068 sq km as the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region. According to the plan, the capital city to be located within the capital region was to be spread over 122 sq km. In 2015, it issued two other notifications, adding more villages and civic bodies to the capital region, increasing the capital region area to 8352 sq km.
But the notification of Amaravati as Andhra’s capital was not done. According to officials, it could be done only after registration of plots in the name of the farmers who had given their land under the Land Pooling Scheme. Over 28000 farmers had given 33000 acres to build Amaravati and under the scheme, they were to be given developed plots.
The TDP has in the past, dismissed the YSRCP charge that Amaravati was not notified. It has pointed to the construction of the temporary Assembly, Secretariat and High court in Amaravati as a pointer to the fact that the city indeed is the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
The other reason why Amaravati is missing is because the Centre is not sure if the Jagan government will retain the city as the Andhra capital. It has appointed a committee of experts to seek public opinion and examine the future of Amaravati, that Naidu used to refer to as “People’s Capital”.
Categories: Andhra Pradesh