The inclusion was made in the revised map by Survey of India on 22 November.

 

HYDERABAD: Amaravati, the designated capital of Andhra Pradesh, is back on the India map. This inclusion by the Survey of India in its revised map released on 22 November was done at the behest of the Union minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy. Earlier, in a map released on 2 November, the Survey of India hadn’t showed Amaravati as the capital of Andhra Pradesh, triggering a political controversy back in the state.

The initiative by Kishan Reddy came in the backdrop of TDP MP Galla Jayadev raising the issue during the zero hour in Lok Sabha early this week. Jayadev pointed out the omission of Amaravati as capital of Andhra and told the government that the foundation stone for the city was laid by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015.

“How can the Survey of India, a Central government wing, ignore a city that was launched through the hands of the Prime Minister? This is nothing, but belittling the Prime Minister and the city,” Jayadev said. Prompted by the significance of the MP’s comments, Union Home minister Amit Shah directed his deputy Kishan Reddy to hold a review on the issue with the Survey of India officials later.

As a result of the meeting, the Survey of India has come up with a fresh map on Friday, indicating Amaravati between Vijayawada and Guntur cities on the banks of Krishna River at the centre of Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly, both TDP and BJP claimed credit for the release of the revised map of India with Amaravati city. “This is our commitment to Amaravati city,” said Kanna Lakshminarayana, AP BJP president on Saturday.

The BJP leaders have not only demanded inclusion of Amaravati in the India map, but also insisted that there shall not be any change in the city’s status as capital of Andhra Pradesh. Lakshminarayana and other BJP leaders have backed the agitation taken by farmers who had given their agricultural lands, around 33,000 acres, for constructing the city

He clarified that the initial confusion over the fate of Amaravati as capital of Andhra and a provision in the AP Bifurcation Act 2014 that Hyderabad would be the combined capital for both Telangana and Andhra for a period of 10 years, till 2024, might have caused the Survey of India to ignore Amaravati as capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Right from the beginning, the TDP has been demanding that the newly elected government of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy shall not make any change in the capital of Andhra Pradesh and Amaravati’s development shall not be compromised. TDP MLC Nara Lokesh had attacked the Jagan government for trying to damage Amaravati by denying it funds in the budget.

TDP leaders had conducted a tour of Amaravati where several towers were almost built for residential quarters of MLAs, MLCs, judges and IAS and IPS officials. The leaders had alleged that the government had tried to kill the capital city by not giving funds for the final completion of these buildings. Already, thousands of crores of money have been spent on these structures, said TDP MLA K. Atchennaidu.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress government has already appointed a five-member committee led by retired official G.N. Rao to decide the future of the capital of Andhra Pradesh. The committee is expected to submit its report in the next two months. The panel is currently studying the suitability of other locations in the state for selection of the capital city.

The confusion over the fate of Amaravati has prompted the donor famers to register their protest. The farmers have demanded that the state government must clarify that there shall not be any change in the status of Amaravati as capital of AP. “Otherwise, our lands will become useless and unproductive and we, the farmers, would be the biggest losers,” said U. Venkata Rao, a representative of the farmers.

Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath on Friday explained that the Jagan Mohan Reddy government was not in a hurry to build a costly capital for Andhra Pradesh at a time when the state was passing through a financial crisis. “This (building a state-of-the-art capital) is not our top priority when we are facing pending bills to a tune of around Rs 40,000 crore,” Reddy said.

Irrespective of the Survey of India’s maps controversy, the Jagan government is planning to take a calibrated decision on the Andhra Pradesh capital by early next year. Most probably, the government is likely to go for a modest administrative district for its functional needs while developing a few other cities for promotion of business and industries in different parts of the state.

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