VIJAYAWADA: In what could stir another controversy, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister Botcha Satyanarayana stated that the previous TDP government did not notify Amaravati as the capital region through a gazette, thus making it a temporary seat of government. The minister who initially skirted the question if the YSRC government would issue a notification, on the insistence of media persons, replied that, “It is the policy of a government and it has to be done.”
The minister’s remarks came at a time when uncertainty reigns in the minds of the farmers of Amaravati, who gave their lands for the capital development. But, Botcha was quick to assure, “Government is a continuous process. We will honour all the promises made to the farmers by the previous dispensation.”
Speaking to reporters at the YSR Congress office in Tadepalli on Saturday, the minister found fault with former Chief Minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu for not issuing a gazette notifying Amaravati villages as capital region. “Normally, all important decisions and policies of a government are notified through a gazette for authentication and it is a normal procedure followed by all governments. He was the Chief Minister for five years and claimed he would be practical. But, did his government issue a gazette notification for the capital? No. This only makes it evident that the TDP saw the capital as a temporary one. All that the TDP did was to announce a State capital without an address,” he remarked. To a query as to why the previous government failed to do so, he shot back, “Naidu should answer the question.”
The minister said there was a need to have an address for the capital, implying that the gazette should be issued.
“What is the point in making a cabinet resolution and, then, not issuing the gazette? We are not in a position to legally say Amaravati is our capital. Naidu and his family just enjoyed being in power and looted the exchequer. A gazette has to be issued,” he said. Asked which area the YSRC government would notify as the capital, considering the uncertainty looming large over the capital development, the minister just smiled. On media insistence for a reply, he said that the government has no option but to issue a notification.
For the record, the previous government had notified the 25 revenue villages, which constitute the present Amaravati, as the capital region on December 30, 2014, by forming the AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). It subsequently added more villages twice, once in January and again in September 2015, expanding the capital region limits to a total of 8,352 sq km from earlier notified 7,068 sq km. However, the same wasn’t notified in AP gazette as the registration of the plots allotted to the farmers in return for the lands they gave under the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS) is still going on. A total of around 27,000 farmers had parted with over 33,000 acres of their land.
The APCRDA returned 64,700 plots and promised to develop the layouts within three years. Of the allotted plots, Botcha said close to 42,000 have been registered. Sources said a gazette can’t be issued unless the entire process of registration of plots in the name of the farmers is done, indicating the completion of the LPS process.
In the press meet, the minister also slammed the TDP for alleging that investors were dropping their investment plans after the YSRC has come to power. “The investors ran away seeing Naidu’s governance. Otherwise, why hasn’t one permanent investment come in?” he sought to know.
He also wanted to know how going for reverse tendering to save public money is wrong. “Is curbing corruption wrong? The TDP leaders are just worried that their wrongdoings would be exposed if we continued examining the projects,” he said.
Reacting to the allegations of Botcha, TDP MLC and former minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu wondered as to why the minister was coming up with such statements on the capital issue.
“If Amaravati can’t be considered as capital as a gazette was not issued, why is the government using Secretariat buildings?’’ he questioned and wanted YSRC leaders not to forget the fact that the foundation stone for Amaravati was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yanamala asked as to whether the statements of Botcha on the capital issue are his own or those of Jagan Mohan Reddy.