VIJAYAWADA: As soon as the news that the State government was going to withdraw the three capital Bills was aired by TV channels, farmers in the protest camps in the capital region of Amaravati went into a jubilant mood. They thought that the government heard their voice, finally. Their joy, however, did not last long as within hours Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy made a statement in the Assembly that the government would come up with a “better and a comprehensive” Bill after explaining “our genuine intention and the need for decentralisation” to all concerned and incorporating necessary changes.
The protest of the Amaravati farmers entered its 706th day on Monday and the farmers at protest camps as well as in the padayatra initially felt that their agitation and the “increasing support” to the padayatra forced the government to withdraw the three-capital Bill. The farmers and women even distributed sweets in the protest camps, anticipating that the government will continue Amaravati as the one and only capital of AP. But all their hopes were dashed with the government’s announcement of tabling a comprehensive bill in favour of decentralisation and inclusive development of all regions.
Stating that the government was taking hasty decisions and playing havoc with the people, Amaravati JAC convener Puvvada Sudhakara Rao said the government admitted its mistake. The decentralisation bill itself was a mistake and the government was forced to withdraw it, he argued. Speaking to TNIE, Sudhakar Rao found fault with the Chief Minister mentioning that `1 lakh crore would be required for developing basic infrastructure in Amaravati. In fact, the expenditure to be made in Amravati was mentioned in the capital roadmap, but Jagan, in his capacity as the Leader of the opposition, welcomed the location of the capital and he did not question the then government on the expenditure, he pointed out.
Farmers to continue stir
After coming to power, the Chief Minister took a U-turn and came up with the three-capital bills without considering the sacrifices made by Amaravati farmers, who parted their land for the construction of the capital city. Asserting that they will continue their agitation until the government declares Amaravati as the only capital of AP, he said that the ongoing Padayatra will continue with full vigour. The farmers began the protest on December 18, 2019.