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In the Land of 'No' Capital

Published: 31st August 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2014 03:45 AM   |  A+A-

VIJAYAWADA / GUNTUR: With the Sivaramakrishnan Committee watering down the proposal of setting up the State capital between Vijayawada and Guntur, its pros and cons have once again came to the fore.

Former director of Central Plantation Crops Research Institute and the chairman of the Tirupati-based Society for Hunger Elimination (SHE) Dr V Rajagopal shares his views with the Express on location of state capital.

He observes that destruction of fertile or forest lands either between Vijayawada and Guntur or elsewhere in the state for locating the State capital is definitely a point of deep concern.

Sacrificing huge agriculture lands will have detrimental effect on food security. For location of capital city or for any other development programmes, it require vast lands. There is every need for taking a survey of fertile lands and waste lands in the respective area and should only utilise the lands, if the ratio of fertile lands is excess than the waste lands.

As per my knowledge, the fertile lands around Vijayawada and Guntur districts are known for cultivation of commercial crops like cotton.

Similarly, lands in Rayalaseema are also having favourable conditions for growing groundnut as well as for horticulture. The government should only proceed for locating the capital city, where it can get the required quantity of waste lands.

The nation has already lost about 70 lakh hectares of fertile land for SEZs. Despite taking lands for development of industries, the governments ignored the development of agriculture and its allied sector. They took the farming lands indiscriminately but failed in establishing the agriculture-based industries in the SEZs.

On the issue of ‘Can Tirupati become a model city’ and a critical SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis has to be done.

Of course, there is a demand for locating the capital in Tirupati as it is having ready infrastructure like transport connectivity, education and health facilities but is about the large land mass required for establishing infrastructural facilities. Several thousand hectares of fertile agriculture lands and rich forest lands will have to be acquired. This would be suicidal for food, nutrition, social securities of rural population in and around Tirupati.



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