Is Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy so resolute in dumping Amaravathi as state capital because it formed an ambitious project of his predecessor Chandrababu Naidu or because the place has a jinx of declines tagged to it?
Even when in opposition, Jaganmohan Reddy had alleged Amaravathi project to be a big scam in which large sums were made by Naidu and his colleagues. Soon after assuming office, Jagan had suspended all constructions in the upcoming capital of Amravathi, which Naidu dreamt of the finest metropolis in the country.
Coming to the jinxed story, Satavahana Empire, which ruled the Deccan region for over 450 years, had a fast decline once Amaravathi was made their capital. Budhism that used to have its base at Amaravathi in Andhra Pradesh region also did not flourish much in the region. Hiuen Tsang, Chinese traveller, has also noted about the declining impact of Amravathi. Everyone knows how superstition and politics (politicians) go together.
As far as Amaravathi is concerned, a mix of politics and superstition seems playing the game, which has come disastrous for the poor farmers who gave the land for the new capital and also for the investors who have pumped in large amounts of money.
In 2015, Chandrababu Naidu had said that he wanted people to remember for what he has done. But in 2019, Jaganmohan does not want to get his predecessor’s name engraved anywhere in the dream city, a play of politics. With allegations of corruption in the 1.10 lakh crore project, Jagan is on a confrontational path – all in the name of politics.
However, political pundits say that it will not be that easy for Jagan to shift the capital from Amaravathi, where investments to the tune of about 45,000 crore has already been pumped in.
AIf Jagan backtracks from the dream project of Naidu, then it would cause a huge loss to the state and also add to the suffering of farmers as well as other people. As far as infrastructure development is concerned, the works have already gone a far, which would make it difficult for an about turn.
Jagan would face the ire of about 30,000 farmers who had given their land. When the dream project was envisaged, Naidu had come up with land pooling by which the farmers were also made a part of the development. Land pooling was brought in as the State had no money to pay compensation for the land acquired. As part of land pooling, the farmers who had given their land would get 1,200 – 1,500 square yards of plots per acre given by them as part of the project. Apart from this, the farmers were also promised several other sops.
Construction of houses and apartments for the Members of the Legislative Assembly and Government employees have all advanced. The constructions of almost a large section of the roads to be developed in the capital city are progressing in full swing.
The political pundits say that who would compensate for the works of Foster and Partners, London, the architects who had designed the master plan for the government complex that would be the central focus around which the city is being designed. An interim secretariat complex and a transit High Court have already started functioning from Amaravathi. Apart from this, lands have been allotted to various institutions and major hospitals.
With almost the work half way done, Jagan would not have a smooth sailing if he desires to shift the capital from Amaravathi, political analysts point out.
It should also be noted that the centre has released an amount of Rs 1,500 crore for Amaravathi. Moreover, the AP government had also raised Amaravati bonds worth Rs 2,000 crore in the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Despite many reservations to Amaravathi, Jagan may not be able to restrict the people’s resentment and also would end up in unnecessary debt if the project is stalled midway.
However, political pundits point out that the Jagan government would think of making Amaravathi would be made an administrative capital and relocating all other important institutions in other places. A larger political talk of the town is that Andhra Pradesh will have four capitals.