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Saturday, January 28 2023

Amaravati farmers’ ‘Mahapadyatra’ concludes in Tirupati

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Tirupati: The mega foot march by farmers and women of Amaravati demanding that the city be retained as the only state capital of Andhra Pradesh concluded in temple town Tirupati on Tuesday December 14.

After covering 450 km in 44 days, the ‘Mahapadyatra’ ended at Alipiri, the foothills of Sri Venkateswara temple.

Leaders of the Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi and the Amaravati Joint Action Committee, along with other participants broke 108 coconuts, praying for success of their agitation against trifurcation of the state capital.

The participants later left for the hill shrine to offer prayers.

Titled ‘court to temple’, the ‘Mahapadyatra’ began near Andhra Pradesh High Court at Amaravati on November 1. It passed through various towns and villages in Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, and Chittoor districts to reach Tirupati.

Farmers of 29 villages of Amaravati region, who had given 33,000 acres of land for development of the state capital when the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was in power, have been protesting for more than 700 days. With the foot march, their agitation entered a new phase.

Leaders of the JAC said they successfully completed the walkathon despite the hurdles created by the police at various places at the instance of ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). They said the ‘Mahapadyatra’ was only the beginning of their movement, and they were determined to carry on the movement till the YSRCP government decides to have Amaravati as the only capital.

During the foot march, the movement witnessed some key developments. On November 22, when the High Court resumed hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the government’s plans for trifurcation of state capital, the government took back the laws passed to create their state capitals.

The developed had raised hopes among protestors in Amaravati but the same day Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced in the Assembly that the government will bring a comprehensive legislation. He made it clear that the government remained committed to three capitals.

The Assembly passed Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Repeal Bill 2021, repealing the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Act 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region development Authority Repeal Act 2020 Act.

Leaders of Amaravati movement and opposition parties claimed the government feared that the two legislations may be struck down by the High Court, which was hearing more than 50 petitions challenging them.

The petitioners had challenged the laws on ground being technically flawed as they were not passed by the Legislative Council, the upper house of the state legislature.

For nearly two years, the farmers, women and other sections of people in Amaravati have been continuing their protest. They say Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government’s move to dump Amaravati as the only capital and develop Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as administrative and judicial capitals, respectively, dashed their hopes of a bright future after giving away 33,000 acres of land. The move caused distress to 4,000 farmer families.

The three-capital proposal came as a bolt from the blue for the farmers relying on the mega plans of then Chandrababu Naidu government to build Amaravati on the banks of Krishna river as the dream capital and a world-class city, whose design was prepared by the Singapore government.

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