Nicknamed the ‘City of Destiny’ and the ‘Jewel of the East Coast’, Visakhapatnam is all set to get a new identity as the capital of Andhra Pradesh, going by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s announcement.
In his address at the preparatory meeting for the Global Investors Summit in Delhi, Jagan on Tuesday said the State capital would be shifted to Visakhapatnam and he would also be relocating his office to the port city in the months to come.
The announcement that Visakhapatnam would be the new capital has elicited mixed response. While a section of people feel that it is the right choice, there are also concerns over civic issues, pollution and traffic congestion.
According to Vizag port website, the city, which is home to the headquarters of Eastern Naval Command had trade relations with the Middle East and Rome during ancient times and in 1682 it became a settlement of a branch of East India Company.
The Visakhapatnam Port was formally inaugurated by Lord Willingdon, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India on December 19, 1933.
The city shot into limelight after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi laid foundation stone for a steel plant which was dedicated to the nation by former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in 1992 after the facility started production.
According to a study by Andhra University, the population of Vizag is set to grow to 30 lakh by 2035 from 23.5 lakh in 2021.
In March last year, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had ruled against the proposal to establish three capitals in the state and directed the YSRC government to develop Amaravati as the state capital as envisaged.
The court had also in its verdict on March 3, 2022 said the state legislature lacked competence to enact any law for shifting, bifurcating or trifurcating the capital.
The state government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order. Asked on the announcement, former chairman of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) Visakhapatnam chamber G V Satyanarayana said Visakhapatnam is a cosmopolitan city with all necessary infrastructure and it is a good decision.
“Visakhapatnam has necessary infrastructure like international airport, road and port connectivity which is important for the capital city,” he told PTI.
He said real estate sector would have a good future once the capital is established. EAS Sharma, a retired IAS officer and former Secretary to the Union government said he would welcome decentralisation.
“It (making Vizag as capital) will place enormous burden on Vizag citizens. It will create water shortage and increase pollution and it will also lead to increase in rent,” he said.
President of Visakhapatnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pydah Krishna Prasad said the city is well-developed and is best suited to become the capital.
“The industrialists who want to invest will look for facilities in the region…the city has all facilities and it is well-developed and one of the biggest in Andhra Pradesh,” he said.
An auto driver rued that people’s problems are not going to be solved by establishing a capital. On the contrary, it would only lead to a rise in issues like traffic congestion.