CAPITAL CONUNDRUM: DREAM TURNS INTO NIGHTMARE

CAPITAL CONUNDRUM: DREAM TURNS INTO NIGHTMARE

AP GOVT HEADING TOWARDS CAPITAL SHIFT!?

CAPITAL REGION FLOOD PRONE!?

FARMERS ON TENTERHOOKS.

CONSTRUCTION WORKS DEEMED TO BE NON-VIABLE.

Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati is put in a state of confusion. Chaos followed after the minister’s statement. Whether it is purely the State Government’s interest or a mixed interest with the support of the Centre!? The farmers who have agreed to give their lands up for pooling wait while worrying. A shift of Capital would be quite heavy on the State’s exchequer.   

Amaravati, the ambitious greenfield capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is under a cloud with the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government sending confusing signals on its fate, reiterating commitment to its development on the one hand and questioning its viability on the other.

Sets The Cat Among The Pigeons

Municipal Administration Minister Botcha Satyanarayana statement that Amaravati is not only costly but also vulnerable to floods set the cat among the pigeons. No stakeholder is perhaps more unnerved than the real estate sector. On a downward spiral ever since the change of guard in the state it could now hit the panic button. At least 5,000 projects underway in the region including Vijayawada, Guntur and Mangalagiri are facing headwinds. Around Rs 300 crore investment is locked with the projects stalled. Estimates vary but it appears that nearly 60 per cent inventory is lying unsold. Though these figures clearly point at a crisis, most developers are waiting for the tide to turn. As of now, distress sales are few and far between but prices have come down by 30-35 per cent.

Even then, home buyers are reluctant to put their money. While both sides wait and watch, the shortage of sand has further compounded the situation. Construction workers laid off with most projects coming to a screeching halt, are migrating to Hyderabad. According to one account, almost 50,000 have migrated to Hyderabad in the last one month alone in search of work. In the first quarter of this fiscal, the number of registrations related to houses and house sites decreased when compared to the corresponding period in 2018-19.

Gloomy Look at Sub-Registrar Office

The sub registrar’s office in Mangalagiri, a beehive of activity with 10-15 registrations a day on an average till a month before elections, now wears a gloomy look.The situation is no different in Tadikonda, Mandadam, Thullur and Ananthavaram sub-registrar offices.

It is a fact that since the beginning of the new financial year, there has been a drop in the number of land and property registrations in the capital region. Somewhere between 30- 35% drop has been observed. In the core capital area, the going rate is Rs 15,000 per sq yard a far cry from `24,000-28,000 six months ago.Though land is on sale at 30-40% less price than it was during Jan-March, there are no takers.

The state government must clear its stand on the capital city, as the recent comments of the minister created apprehensions among people. Such statements discourage prospective investors from coming to the State

Centre And Jagan At Loggerheads

 The Opposition AP BJP has implied that the Center would intercede. As of now the Center and Jagan are at loggerheads over the re-arrangement of PPAs and switch offering on Polavaram National Irrigation Project, presently the hotly debated issue of new Capital City to AP would likewise goad the Union Government which had officially authorized a lot of cash for the development of Amaravati.

In the midst of this, Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Kishan Reddy has reacted on the issue. At the point when gotten some information about the subject of new money to AP, Kishan Reddy made it exceptionally evident that the Center would not meddle in the state’s issue. He expressed that he would prefer not to remark on it further.

Doubts On Handing Over Plots

The previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government, led by N Chandrababu Naidu, had commenced work on the capital after acquiring 33,000 acres from farmers in 30 villages in the Mangalagiri-Guntur region, who had pooled their land. As part of the agreement between the two sides, once the capital is developed, the State government is supposed to hand over plots to the farmers who surrendered their lands. Now, there are doubts if this will happen at all. Though the process has commenced, it has been halted since May. Earlier Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had also announced a probe into ‘land scams’ in the capital region. Real estate prices, which sky-rocketed from 6 lakh per acre to 3 crore in some villages, including Tullur, are now witnessing a crash.

Legal Action by Farmers Imminent?

Some plan to take legal recourse if any of the commitments made in the land pooling agreement were not honoured by the government. Some think the talk about a shift is purely political gamesmanship. The YSR Congress Party has mentioned in its election manifesto that capital will not be shifted.

Amaravati, the last capital of the ancient Satavahana empire, has a jinxed history. The Satavahans, who ruled the Deccan for 450 years, declined shortly after making it their new capital.Buddhism, which had a base in the ancient Andhra region also disappeared fast. Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang, who visited Amaravati in the first half of the 7th century AD, talks of its ‘declining impact’.

It was only in 2014 that Amaravati came back into the limelight again after it was named Andhra Pradesh’s new capital.

Deeksha Prasad .G, Executive Editor

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