Amaravathi: Much Ado About Nothing!

Standing outside Park Hyatt in Hyderabad, a rickshaw wallah from Siddipet and an auto wallah from Karimnagar signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly purchase the hotel in future for a certain price and then give jobs to their colleagues.

After that, they went back to their daily lives and eventually, both of them died in Gandhi Hospital of old age. And no, they didn’t purchase the hotel.

But their MoU is strikingly similar to that of hundreds of MoUs signed by the erstwhile Chandrababu Naidu government with corporates.

Dazzling conferences were held, front page ads were given in Andhra Jyothi and Eenadu announcing the summits as historical, agreements were arrived at during the meetings and the numbers announced were nothing short of phenomenal: MoUs worth lakhs and lakhs of crores were inked making the United States government seem like a ‘paan dabba shop’. 

The outcome? Not one of them saw the light of day barring Franklin Templeton that set up shop in Vizag to sell pension plans to the local populace.

This precisely has been the modus operandi of the Chandrababu Naidu government: ‘Media Management’ at its best.

Therefore, the criticism of the TDP that shifting the capital from Amaravati to Donakonda or elsewhere will have a ruinous effect on the economy and forestall investments is nothing but humbug.

First of all, there is nothing in Amaravati. It is not the people’s choice but a decision forced on the public.

The Sivaramakrishnan Committee and the National Green Tribunal clearly said that Amaravati was a bad choice.

Temporary structures erected for running the government are so poor in quality that if it rains, the secretariat and Assembly are flooded.

Thank god there were no permanent structures or else the Speaker and all the MLAs would have been drowned. (Jagan and his MLAs were anyways abstaining from the Assembly). 

Prior to the elections, the people voting for YSRCP knew that Jagan would not encourage Amaravati if he became the CM. Which brings us to the question: Does AP need a capital?

Definitely, yes, but not one that needs to be built from scratch. For god’s sake, why cannot a city meeting the infrastructure requirements be chosen as the new capital? What’s wrong with Tirupati, Vijayawada or Vizag or any other city meeting the criterion?

Shifting the capital from Amaravati will result in zero damage because Amaravati exists only in name. Yet, Jagan Mohan Reddy should ensure that the choice of a new capital is one that is practical and conducive to the people of the State and does not pander to the interests of the real-estate lobby. 

Amaravati had the ignominy of being labeled as a ‘mega real-estate venture’ of Chandrababu Naidu’s community. If Donakonda now turns out to be a similar venture initiated for the Reddys, it will not matter anymore to the people as to which Party is in power.

Maybe, if Pawan Kalyan comes to power in 2024, he will scrap Donakonda and announce Amalapuram as the new capital and in 2029, the BJP will declare Annavaram as the headquarters.

Is it not better to just convert an existing city into the new capital? This way, we will be spared of a new capital every five years.