“Amaravati” the ambitious Capital City project of the erstwhile Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu may not see the light of the day as the YSR Congress party government is all set to scrap the master plan after its decision to move the administrative capital to Visakhapatnam. Jagan government is now all set to scrap capital Amaravati Master Plan and merge Amaravati with new urban development authority. The Amaravati Master Plan was prepared by Singapore government consultant Surbana Jurong.
A bill to this effect is going to be introduced in the special assembly session to be convened on January 20. The bill seeks to repeal the existing Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Act, 2014, which was aimed at creating the capital city of Amaravati.
The government would also introduce another bill “The AP Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Bill, 2020,” seeking to decentralise the administration. Both the reports of GN Rao Committee and the Boston Consulting Group, had recommended decentralisation of administration in the State. Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu burnt both these reports in the Bhogi bonfire on Sankranti demanding ‘One State, One Capital’.
There is also a proposal to drop the nomenclature “Amaravati” as a whole as the government is planning to constitute Vijaywada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri Urban Development Authority ((VGTMUDA) under the Metropolitan Region and Urban Development Authorities Act, 2016, and merge all areas falling under Amaravati region under this authority. All the loans taken by APCRDA for the capital loan would be transferred to VGTMUDA, for which the state government would stand a guarantor.
The proposed Bill also provides that all the people who had surrendered their lands for Amaravati under Land Pooling Scheme would continue to have all the rights on the developed and reconstituted plots. The beneficiaries of the scheme would be further entitled to annuity benefits for another three years beyond the 10-year period prescribed under the APCRDA act. The bill seeks to allot an additional reconstituted residential plot of area 200 square yards per acre surrendered on a pro-rata basis to the farmers.
The idea of new capital at Amaravati was mooted by the TDP when it was in power in the state. However, the new YSR Congress government after coming to power in May 2019 decided to review the new capital project. The new government set up a five-member committee comprising urban planning experts, headed by retired IAS officer G Nageswara Rao. The committee had completed its task of receiving suggestions from the people on the capital city location on November 12. Later one the state government roped in Boston Consulting Group which too suggested decentralisation of administration. Amaravati capital city project had received a major setback when World Bank had withdrawn from the project.
The original master plan prepared by Surbana Jurong had proposed to create a world-class city 10 times the size of Singapore with nine theme cities—Government City, Justice City, Finance City, Knowledge City, Electronics City, Health City, Sports City, Media City and Tourism City. It had also proposed to develop four expressways and one inner ring road and 27 townships in an overall area of 50,000 acres.