200 days of Amaravati Capital City agitation, A tale of sacrifice, sorrow and struggle

Amaravati :  The ongoing agitaiton for continuing Amaravati as the only Capital City of Andhra Pradesh will complete 200 days on July 4 (Saturday). To mark this, the Amaravati Joint Action Committee (JAC) along with the thousands of local farmers, who sacrificed their long-held ancestral lands, have called for all-round protests at state, national and international levels on Saturday. The Telugu Desam Party and other Opposition leaders are coming to take part in protests along with farmers in Amaravati city area. Also as an expression of their solidarity to the farmers, the Telugu NRIs spread over 200 cities across the world are taking part in virtual protests and rallies.

It may be recalled that over 29,000 farmers have given 33,000 acres of their ancestral lands for the construction of Amaravati Capital City. They made this supreme sacrifice in the hope of contributing their bit for creating a smart and potential city as the Capital for Andhra Pradesh. These lands were taken under the first of its kind Land Polling Scheme (LPS) in over 29 villages. As is well known, the need for a new capital city for AP was felt after Telangana was carved out of the then united Andhra Pradesh in June, 2014. The then Andhra Pradesh government identified Amaravati, a place between Vijayawada and Guntur alongside the River Krishna, comprising 24 revenue villages and part of Tadepalli municipality of Guntur district, covering a total area of 53,748 acres. Incidentally, Amaravati is centrally located between northeastern district of Srikakulam and south-western district of Anantapur.

After the change of Government in 2019, the Amaravati plan was reversed. The 3 Capitals Bill and CRDA Repeal Bill were brought forward out of political vengeance to destroy the Amaravati Capital City project. As part of this, Amaravati was proposed as just a legislative capital. In protest against this, the farmers, who sacrificed their lands, began protests with support from all Opposition parties including the main opposition TDP. Despite police cases, largescale arrests and lathicharge at several times, the JAC leaders and farmers and women and local youth have continued their protests and resistance.

The present Government’s actions have led Amaravati fall from a dream destination for global investments to a city of uncertain future and obvious risks. As a result, the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have pulled out of the Amaravati project.

The originally proposed capital city project of Amaravati covers an area of 217.23 sq. km with the seed capital in an area of 16.94 sq. km. The entire capital region pans over a spread of 8,352.69 sq. km across both Krishna and Guntur districts of the State of Andhra Pradesh. The city specifically is planned to be built in Guntur district on the banks of the Krishna River, which is hailed as the rice-bowl of the State with 120 multi-crops irrigated on the floodplains. The area sited for the city presently has a population of 1.03 lakh while that of the entire capital region would be 5.8 million.

The Opposition parties support Amaravati stir
Telugu Desam Party National President and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has asserted that the present Andhra Pradesh state would have a golden future if Amaravati was developed as the only Capital City for the state considering its central location and geographical advantages. Already, Rs. 10,000 Cr was spent on developing some facilities in the Capital City region and all this would go waste if the project was neglected at this stage. He appealed to the YCP Government to complete the Capital construction in its present location in the larger interests of all regions of the state.

Naidu gave a call for making the protests of JAC and farmers a big success on July 4. The TDP chief would take part in protests at Amaravati on Saturday. The Government must leave its stubborn arguments and recognise now that a single capital city with huge potential and well-established infrastructure was necessary for bringing overall developemnt in Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati would be the only hope for the future generations of the state.
The ruling YCP party leaders and sympathisers in the Capital city area have voluntarily given their lands under LPS for Amaravati. In 2019 elections, both Tadikonda and Mangalagiri MLA seats in Amaravati region were won by the ruling party. But now, the YCP was behaving in a strange way to shift Capital without any respect for the people’s sentiments. Many projects initiated by TDP in Hyderabad were continued by YS Rajasekhara Reddy Government. There should be continuity of governance for passing their benefits to the future generations. As such, Amaravati should be continued for the common good and greater prosperity of AP people.

The other Opposition leaders have long expressed their support for Amaravati agitation. It would not be possible to change the Capital City every time Chief Ministers change during elections in the state. They strongly expressed support for continuation of Capital City in Amaravati City itself.

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