Maha Padayatra, a ploy against north coastal Andhra aspirations: Dharmana

Andhra Pradesh Minister for Revenue Dharmana Prasada Rao on Monday has come hard at the opposition Telugu Desam Party

Dharmana Prasada Rao

VISAKHAPATNAM: Andhra Pradesh Minister for Revenue Dharmana Prasada Rao on Monday has come hard at the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Amaravati farmers for embarking on the Maha Padayatra saying that they were suppressing the dream of North Coastal Andhra people to have a capital in the region. He said that the farmers' Maha Padayatra, backed by the opposition parties, was an attack on the north Coastal Andhra Pradesh and questioned why they had to keep quiet when they were being looted by a handful of people in the name of a single capital for Andhra Pradesh.

Citing Hyderabad as an example to drive home the disadvantages of a single capital, the minister stated that development focussed largely on the current Telangana capital over decades and at the expense of other regions in unified Andhra Pradesh had cost the residuary state dearly. He felt the need for decentralization of development to ensure the same mistake that happened in the case of Hyderabad was not repeated. He said that the North coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions had largely remained far from development due to the investments made in a single place over the last 65 years.

Dharmana Prasada Rao slammed TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, holding him responsible for the backwardness of the North Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. Stating that the people of his region were given a raw deal all along and questioned Naidu if he wanted this region and people to remain under-developed forever.

Dharmana Prasada Rao also accused Chandrababu of acquiring 33,000 acres of land in the name of land pooling and failing to construct a single government building. Ignoring development, Naidu has made only real estate business in the name of Amaravati and is now creating hurdles to the decentralisation of development initiated by the YSRCP government headed by the Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, he said.

Dharmana however clarified that he and the people of his region were not against having Amaravati as the capital but said that addition of two more capitals to the state for the development of all regions equally was an imperative. He said that there would be a huge loss if the total investment for the next 50 years was poured into the development of Amaravati. He also wondered whether Rs 4 to 5 lakh crore would be enough to develop Amaravati.

Dharmana recalled that the first cabinet meeting of the earlier TDP regime was held in Visakhapatnam and asked why Chandrababu Naidu's government then had ignored Visakhapatnam as the option for the state capital. He alleged that the Telugu Desam Party headed by Chandrababu had no wisdom to develop the state and focused only on 29 villages to acquire huge money through the real estate business.

The Minister concluded saying that the people of North Coastal Andhra would not keep quiet and would revolt against those who stop the development of the region and emphasised the decentralisation of development for the state to prosper.

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