Panel seeks opinion from Amaravati farmers over protests

A committee formed by the Andhra Pradesh government to look into the three-capital proposal on Monday sought the opinion of Amaravati farmers, who have been protesting against the proposal for nearly a month. The 16-member committee, comprising ministers and senior officials, held its third meeting on Monday even as protests by farmers in 29 villages of Amaravati continued against the proposal to develop Visakhapatnam as administrative capital and Kunrool as the judicial capital.

Minister for Information and Public Relations Perni Nani said that the farmers could convey their views to the panel. They may submit the opinion and suggestions in writing personally to the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Commissioner or online. The move comes amid the protest by farmers, who were angry that the government is going ahead with its move without consulting them. Before the committee met on Monday, Urban Development Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said a one-day special session of Assembly is likely to be convened on January 20 to announce a decision on the capital.

The government on December 29 constituted a high-power committee to examine the recommendations of the expert committee, which suggested a three-capital formula for decentralized development of the state. The panel, comprising 11 ministers and five officials, was asked to submit the report in three weeks. It will also take into account the recommendations of the Boston Consultancy Group (BCG). After the six-member expert committee submitted its report on December 20, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government roped in BCG to study the option available for the development of the capital city.

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Both the expert committee and BCG recommended decentralisation of development and state capital functions. The reports triggered unrest among farmers in 29 villages of Amaravati, who had given 33,000 acres of land in 2015 for development of the state capital. The farmers are staging daily protests, demanding the government drop the three-capital proposal and develop the capital in Amaravati as planned by the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government.

IANS