It is official. Andhra Pradesh will have three capitals, a first for any state in India. Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan on Friday gave his assent to The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill-2020 and APCRDA (Repeal) Bill -2020, paving the way for the Legislative Capital in Amaravati, Executive in Visakhapatnam and, Judicial in Kurnool.
Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan on Friday gave his nod to the two bills – AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 aimed at creating the three capital cities for the state and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2020, seeking to abolish the APCRDA formed in December 2014 to develop Amaravati as the state capital.
The two bills were passed for a second time by the state legislative assembly on 16 June, but were stalled in the state legislative council, which was adjourned sine die without discussing them. Since the council had not taken any decision within one month, the bills were deemed to have been passed and were sent to the Governor for his approval on 18 July.
Governor Harichandan, who had several rounds of talks with legal experts, finally gave his assent on Friday, paving the way for the formation of the three capitals for Andhra Pradesh. “Once the state government notifies the approved bills in the state gazette, they will become acts and Amaravati will cease to be the capital city of Andhra Pradesh,” an official in the chief minister’s office said.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has been arguing that the fresh bills pertaining to the capital are legally invalid, as the two bills introduced by the state government in the state legislative council in January had been referred to the select committee.
Former finance minister and senior Telugu Desam Party leader Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said the two fresh bills had no legal sanctity, because the earlier bills had already been pending study by the select committee and the government had given an undertaking to that extent in the high court.
“Though the constitution of select committees could not take place due to bureaucratic hurdles, the process is still on. So, the reintroduction of the same bills again in the state legislature in June cannot be legally tenable,” Ramakrishnudu said.
The state high court has been hearing a batch of petitions filed by the farmers of Amaravati, opposing the trifurcation of the capital and abolition of APCRDA. The next hearing is scheduled for 6 August.