Andhra Pradesh could have three capital cities if Jaganmohan Reddy has his way. In the Assembly, Jagan dropped hints that the state could have an executive capital (Visakhapatnam), a legislative capital (Amaravati) and a judicial capital (Kurnool). This, the YSRCP perhaps reckons, will make people of all three regions in the state happy and ensure balanced development. While Vizag is in north coastal Andhra, Amaravati is in coastal Andhra and Kurnool is in Rayalaseema and was the capital of Andhra state in the 1950s.
But whether Andhra Pradesh goes the South Africa way will also depend on the GN Rao committee that is expected to submit its final report in a week.
“A reputed consultancy firm will also give its report and a decision will be taken after discussing the details and logistics,” said Jagan.
This confirms what BJP MP TG Venkatesh had said many months ago. He had said Jagan is considering having four different capital cities to ensure decentalised development. Ensuring equitable representation seems to be Jagan’s formula given that he has five deputy chief ministers, one from every backward and marginalised caste and community.
What this will mean is that the temporary Secretariat in Velagapudi will now have to shift to Vizag. This will not be an easy task. A composite Secretariat will have to be first constructed in the Port city before the employees can move in. This will be the second shift for the government employees in four years as Chandrababu Naidu had forced everyone to move out of Hyderabad in 2016.
But there will be practical issues. With so many heads of departments often summoned by the High court, this will mean the bureaucrats will have to regularly travel from Vizag to Kurnool (that does not have a functional airport). Two, during the assembly session in Amaravati, the entire Secretariat will have to shift out of Vizag. Three, and this is a personal problem Jagan will have to solve – Will he now construct a new home in Vizag since he has built one this year in Tadepalli which is in Amaravati.
Jagan is however looking to hit several birds with one stone. If the High court is established in Kurnool, it will satisfy the Rayalaseema region that had lobbied for it with Naidu as well. It will also mean he kills the Amaravati project completely, reducing it to just an Assembly building. It will however mean Rs 9000 crore that was sunk into Amaravati by the previous regime goes waste, including the Rs 200 crore spent on building the Secretariat.
Vizag should have been the first choice even for the previous regime for a state capital given that it is the largest city in Andhra Pradesh, is cosmopolitan and has reasonably good flight connectivity. Now it will have to be seen if the City of Destiny is where Jagan decides to script Andhra’s destiny.