California NRI’s Submitted Memorandum To President Of India in Reaction to Andhra Pradesh’s Three-Capitals Bill

Ritu Jha-

 

Concerned and surprised over the proposal to establish a three-state capital in Andhra Pradesh, over hundred people with roots in Andhra Pradesh traveled to San Francisco and have submitted a memorandum to the Consul General of India in San Francisco, Sanjay Panda, urging the President of India to intervene and help the continuation of Amaravati as the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Jaganmohan Reddy, has proposed a legislation of creating three capitals for the state. Where, the present capital Amaravati would remain as the legislative capital, while Visakhapatnam would serve as executive capital and Kurnool the judicial as capital.

California based non-resident Indians say it’s all political and alleged it will divide people across regional lines.

“It is a crazy, stupid idea. We do not have funds to take care of one capital…and he wants three capitals,” Jayaram Komati, recent past Special Representative for North America by the Government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, a community leader and Advisory committee member and former President of the Bay Area Telugu Association President (BATA) told indica.

Jayaram who on Jan 20, met Consul General Panda sharing his concern said the new state government has taken over 33,000 acres of land from 27,000 people saying “it’s for a good cause but will now be all in vain”.

Another attendee Ramesh Konda, Advisory committee member and former President of the Bay Area Telugu Association President (BATA) sharing his concern told indica, “It was surprising that Mr. Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has already introduced a bill in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly.”

Sharing further he said that the previous government had spent a considerable amount of due diligence and research and finalized Amaravati as the capital city. Most of the development in Amaravati has already started and is in progress.

“With the new government now, there is no reason to change the capital city from Amaravati to another,” said Konda. “Also, if we have a capital in three places, people as well as government officials will end up roaming through these three cities which would consume a lot of public money and also time delays due to long distance travel between the key government offices.”

In 2014, after the formation of the new State of Telangana, the residual state of Andhra Pradesh had no capital city, so a newly formed government then declared Amaravati as its new capital after carefully considering various factors like geographic location, available resources, proximity to the airport, as well as road and railway networks.

All parties in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly unanimously supported this motion and the foundation stone for the new capital was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Oct 22, 2015.

When asked what would be the next steps for the bill to be passed in the legislation, Konda said that now it has to get it approved from another governing body called Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council. However, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council did not take it up for discussion yet. It has to pass from Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council as well.

The memorandum states that to create a world-class city, the government of AP peacefully acquired nearly 33000 acres of land from farmers in 29 villages in a historic, first in the nation, land pooling concept with a promise that farmers will get well-developed plots in the capital city region. But the present Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Reddy’s dream of creating three capitals for the state is unjustified and has consequences.

The memorandum calls the idea “cruel political actions” against the farmers who sacrificed their ancestral lands for the sake of the state capital are in a state of limbo with no future. As land being the only source of income, the farmers and their families are going through severe emotional pain and have been protesting in the streets for the last two weeks.

The memorandum states that the government has already spent thousands of crores on the development of massive Infrastructure and various construction projects in Amaravati. To stop these projects abruptly would be huge a waste of public funds.

Not only would the three capital idea negatively affect farmers, but it would also cause an erosion of trust with the government and in the future no one will come forward to offer their lands for public use which in turn will become a major issue for manufacturing development in the country.

Much is at stake as Amaravati Bonds have been issued and listed in the Bombay stock exchange with the sole purpose of raising funds from investors to build the capital city of Amaravati. The shifting of the capital from Amaravati will downgrade investor confidence on public projects and will impact private funding for all other public projects in the future.

The new example is visible to all, when past November the government of Singapore already pulled back its joint venture participation in the capital city development causing a big blow to India’s investment rating and global investor confidence on India.

San Francisco Bay NRI believes that it would destroys the concept of ‘business continuity’, whenever the new governments change the directions on matters related to already agreed core foundational issues like the capital city.

The creation of three capitals is neither financially viable for a state already in deep fiscal troubles nor convenient for the public and for employees. It will have a huge negative impact on the development of the state. A centralized core administration for a decentralized development is ideal for states like Andhra Pradesh.

In the last six decades, the people of Andhra Pradesh have gone through the painful process of losing well-developed capitals twice and slowly recovering emotionally with the creation of their own people’s capital in Amaravati.

They are looking at Amaravati as a symbol of their pride and gaining confidence to move forward. But the latest decision of creating three capitals on political grounds caused a big blow on their sentiments and brought people to the streets to protest the unjustified decision.

“We are kindly requesting your urgent intervention for the continuation of Amaravati as the capital of Andhra Pradesh to reduce tensions, restore people’s confidence on the very system of governance and established laws of the land, and to honor the sacrifices made by the 30,000 small farmers of Amaravati,” the memorandum stated.

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