The scope and shape of Andhra Pradesh's capital city Amaravati will be decided after receipt of the report from the committee of experts set up by the state government for a review of the developmental plans initiated so far and to suggest a comprehensive strategy for all round development, according to a senior minister.
The government also wants to ensure that development of the capital does not cause regional imbalances and possibly trigger a demand for division of the state.
"We will take a call on the capital after the experts committee tours the state, studies everything and comes out with its suggestions," state Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister Botcha Satyanarayana said.
A huge question markhangs over the fate of truncated AP's new capital as the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government brought all development works in Amaravati to a halt after it came to power on May 30, 2019.
There was widespread speculation that the government would shift the capital somewhere else, as several ministers made divergent statements that only compounded the confusion.
In an interview to PTI here on Friday, the Minister, who is in charge of the capital works, sought to dispel various notions over the fate of Amaravati.
Botcha noted that the capital citys development "should not cause regional imbalances and lead to a fresh agitation (for bifurcation)."
"We have to ensure this doesnt happen. So everything is being discussed thoroughly," he said, referring to requests from different quarters.
"Should we develop all 13 districts or concentrate on consolidated development of only one part? Should everything be in one place or in different places? All these are under discussion," Botcha said.
Stating that there are requests from different places for various things, he said the expert committee has experienced people in their fields, who would tour all 13 districts and submit their recommendations.
"So the government wants to take their views before taking a decision on the capital," the minister added.
When pointed out that the general feeling among people was that Amaravati would indeed remain the capital, but there was no clarity on what shape it would eventually take, he noted that the government was "looking into the reality".
"It's a mistake to think there is no clarity. We received various complaints. We are looking into the reality. We need outcome on that," he pointed out.
Botcha asked if such huge expenditure (for building the capital) was required.
"At the Cabinet sub-committee meeting, we were told that Rs 17,000 crore was required to develop the 64,000 (returnable) plots in 17,000 acres (in lieu of the land pooled from farmers).
Is such expenditure required? Can the government bear that, how much can it spend, what is the funding pattern, revenue sources and financial situation? What to do (related to capital development) will be based on all that," he said.
Asked about works taken up in the 'Government City', including the Secretariat, High Court and Legislature complex, Botcha observed that everyone was asking about it.
"Everyone is questioning about it, saying a lot of money has already been spent. How much was spent and how much needs to be spent? That's the moot question.
If we spend that much money additionally, will it be worthwhile or wasteful?" he noted. Works worth Rs 9,000 crore were taken up in the Government City.
"We need to spend another Rs 70,000 crore to Rs 80,000 crore. Of this, Rs 20,000 crore or Rs 30,000 crore will go only towards (laying) foundations.
There is a discussion on whether we should waste that much money or stop it with the Rs 5,000 crore already spent. Intellectuals are asking this.
There is also the question of adding value to the already done works and making them useful," the minister said.
He remarked that it was, after all, just over 100 days since the new government came in.
"But everyone is talking as if 100 years have elapsed. We are thinking about a permanent solution with a commitment. Our decision will be in line with that," Botcha said.