Amaravati farmers end four-year-long protest as Naidu govt sworn-in

Amaravati: With the formation of the Chandrababu Naidu-led government in Andhra Pradesh, farmers of Amaravati on Wednesday called off their four-year-long protest against three capitals move of the previous YSR Congress government.

Hours after Naidu and his Council of Ministers took oath at a ceremony at Vijayawada, the farmers removed their protest camps in villages.

The farmers, including women, had been protesting for 1,631 days, demanding the YSR Congress government to develop Amaravati as the sole capital.

The protest started in December 2019 after Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced that his government would develop three state capitals, reversing the decision of the previous TDP government to develop Amaravati as the only state capital.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy government planned to develop Visakhapatnam as the administrative capital, Kurnool as the judicial capital, and keep Amaravati only as a legislative capital.

The farmers of 29 villages, who had given 33,000 acres of their land under a land pooling system when the TDP was in power, came out on the streets. They had been continuing the protest in different forms.

The Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi (APS), which was spearheading the movement against three capitals, undertook two padyatras during the last two years to mobilise public support for their demand.

Earlier in the day, the farmers watched on specially installed screens the live telecast of the swearing-in of Chandrababu Naidu and his Cabinet colleagues. At the meeting of newly-elected MLAs of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Tuesday, Naidu declared that Amaravati will be developed as the sole state capital. He said Visakhapatnam will be developed as a financial capital and Kurnool will also be developed in all respects.

TDP’s allies Jana Sena and BJP are also for developing Amaravati as the sole state capital.

The return of Naidu to power has given new hopes to farmers and others, who were fighting for justice. The TDP chief had envisioned Amaravati on the banks of the Krishna river as a dream capital and a world-class city about a decade ago. The works on residential quarters and other components of the mega project had come to an abrupt halt in 2019 a few months after the YSRCP came to power.

The foundation stone for Amaravati was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2015 when TDP was part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. Naidu had got the master plan for Amaravati prepared by Singapore. With nine theme cities and 27 townships, it was planned in an area of 217 square kilometres with the development in three phases – seed area or core capital, capital city, and capital region. -IANS

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