Andhra administration likely to operate from Visakhapatnam from April 13, hints minister

If the Andhra Pradesh government headed by chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has its way, Visakhapatnam would start functioning as the administrative capital of the state with effect from Ugadi, the Telugu New Year Day, which falls on April 13.

State minister for municipal administration and urban development Botsa Satyanarayana told reporters in Visakhapatnam that the state administration would start operating from the port city from April 13, coinciding with Ugadi festival.

“Visakhapatnam will be legally the executive capital of Andhra Pradesh with effect from April 13. We are gearing up to functioning from this city from that date. We are hopeful of overcoming all legal hurdles by then,” Satyanarayana said.

Andhra Pradesh Secretariat Employees’ Association, too, is getting ready for shifting to Visakhapatnam. “Though we have not got any orders from the government so far, the employees are prepared to move to Visakhapatnam as and when the official notification is issued,” association president K Venkatrami Reddy said.

The employees are feeling it convenient to shift the executive capital to Visakhapatnam in April. “It is the most suitable time for the employees to move from Amaravati to the new capital, as it is before the commencement of the academic year of their children,” Reddy said.

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A senior official in the secretariat familiar with the development said the government had already identified suitable buildings in Visakhapatnam for the location of offices, till new buildings were constructed. “They would be ready for occupation by March-end,” the official said.

In December 2019, the Jagan government declared Visakhapatnam as the executive capital of the state, while retaining the present capital city of Amaravati as legislative capital and shifting the judicial capital to Kurnool.

On June 16, the state legislature passed 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 APCRDA formed in December 2014 to develop Amaravati as the state capital.

On July 31, Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan gave his assent to the two bills, paving the way for the formation of three capitals. However, the two bills had been caught in the legal wrangle with the farmers of Amaravati filing more than 90 different petitions to stall the capital shift. The high court has stayed the process of capital shift, pending disposal of the petitions.

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