Andhra Guv approves bills for trifurcation of state capital

Amaravati: Clearing the decks for trifurcation of Andhra Pradesh capital, Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan on Friday gave his assent to the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2020, passed by the State Legislature.

Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government on July 17 had sent to Raj Bhavan two bills passed by the State Assembly last month.

While one bill is for the abolition of Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) that was created during the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime for building the capital in Amaravati, the other is aimed at decentralizing the administration by creating three state capitals.

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The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government plans to shift the executive capital to Visakhapatnam, judicial capital to Kurnool and retain Amaravati as the legislative capital. However, its move sparked massive protest from farmers of Amaravati who had given their lands for the development of the capital.

The two bills were originally passed by the Assembly in January and were sent to the Legislative Council for its approval. However, the opposition TDP which has a majority in the upper house stalled the bills and amid the pandemonium Chairman M. A. Shariff had announced referring the Bills to the select committee.

However, the State Assembly officials had refused to constitute the select committee on the ground that the chairman’s decision was not in line with the rules. Even as the matter landed in the high court, the bills were passed again by the Assembly on June 16. The bills were sent the Council but the same could not be taken up and the House was adjourned sine die the pandemonium.

Claiming that the two bills deemed to have been passed after one month period, the government sent them to the Governor for his approval.

The Governor had reportedly sought legal opinion on the procedure involved in the passage of the bills – Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the Bill to repeal AP Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014

The opposition parties had appealed to the governor not to give his nod to the bills.

TDP president and leader of opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu had urged the Governor to take ‘pro-people’ decision on ‘unlawful’ bills.

In a letter the Governor, the former Chief Minister had appealed to him to consider the interests and future aspirations of all sections of Andhra Pradesh before taking a final decision.

Naidu reminded the governor that the Council referred the bills to a select committee.

Naidu also wrote that the approval of the two bills at this juncture would amount to contempt of the court as the High Court was in the process of hearing many petitions against the government’s ulterior move to shift capital in the name of decentralised development.

BJP’s state unit president Kanna Lakshmi Narayana had also written to the Governor, requesting him not to grant assent to the two bills.

The BJP leader mentioned in his letter that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act provides for only one capital.

He had also appealed to the Governor to consider the constitutional aspects of the matter, stand of several stakeholders and people’s wish and not to grant assent to the Bills.

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