Jagan harps on decentralisation, reiterates 'three capitals' resolve

Affirming that decentralisation is the only way for all-round development, YS Jaganmohan Reddy said that he treats all regions equally

YS Jaganmohan Reddy

AMARAVATI: Affirming that decentralisation is the only way for all-round development, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Thursday said that he treats all regions equally. He said that Visakhapatnam (Vizag) could be the natural choice as it was the biggest city in the State with ready-made infrastructure. He dubbed the opposition hue and cry and the sloganeering on this issue a sham and sheer opportunism.

Participating in the short discussion on decentralisation and administrative reforms on the opening day of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly session here, the Chief Minister lambasted the opposition and its friendly media for the sloganeering on the capital city that was not built and could not be built by Chandrababu Naidu. He said that, with a little boost, Visakhapatnam would be the natural capital with a meagre investment of Rs 10,000 crores which is less than 10 percent of the estimate of the previous government to build the perceived capital city.

"For the 53,000 acres of land, Chandrababu Naidu has estimated an expenditure of Rs 1.10 lakh crores for basic infrastructure and all that he could spend was just Rs 5,500 crores and that is the amount any government can spend. The previous government has kept Rs 2,297 crores as pending for us to clear," he said.

Taking a dig at the ongoing agitation, he said that it was not for the development of Scs, STs, BCs or Minorities but to safeguard the interests of a section of the wealthy class.

"There is not much difference between the State budget of the previous government and our government which is around Rs 2.50 crores. Then why didn't the previous government take up programmes like Amma Vodi, YSR Asara, Cheyutha, Rythu Bharosa and give Rs 1.65 lakh crores Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) under various schemes? How we made it possible is a matter of commitment and priority. While the welfare of weaker sections is our priority, the welfare of only a section of society was the priority of Chadnrababu Naidu," he remarked.

He further said: "We regard the whole of the State, in its entire stretch of 1.62 lakh sq. km radius, as one but not just the area of 8-km radius about which there has been an agitation of late. The state consists of 3.96 crore acres and not just the 50,000 acres and farmers of these lands. Those who are benefitting through Rythu Bharosa are the farmers.

"But the 'Gang of Four' has been spreading false notions and wanted to concentrate development in one region only besides writing and showing highly biased and opinionated stories. I have been talking about decentralisation time and again. From setting up of village and ward secretariats to doubling the districts to 26, we have shown what decentralisation could be and it has been doing wonders and during the calamities, the welfare delivery mechanism has been working well and effectively," he said.

Hitting hard at the ongoing Yatra by farmers, sponsored by Chandrababu Naidu and the Big Four, with funny slogans, he said that it was aimed only to provoke people of other regions.

Stating that he was not against this region, he said that two more capitals would be added to Amaravati but clarified that he had never said that this should be taken away. People have endorsed our view with a landslide in all the polls held after the 2019 general elections, he said.

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