Andhra Pradesh’s new capital is Vishakhapatnam

According to the Chief Minister, Visakhapatnam will be the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.

The AP’s decision to use three capitals

  • Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020 was introduced as a ‘Three Capitals Act’.
  • As a result, it was decided that Amaravati would be the Legislative capital.
  • The executive capital is Visakhapatnam, and the judicial capital is Kurnool.
  • However, the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down this Act, stating that the legislature lacks the authority to enact legislation to relocate the capital’s three organs.

Concerns expressed by the AP government

  • The AP contended that the judgement violated the fundamental structure of the Constitution because the HC cannot hold that the State lacks the authority to determine its capital.
  • The decision violated the doctrine of separation of powers by attempting to prevent the legislature from taking up the issue (of three capitals).
  • Furthermore, it is argued that under the federal structure of the Constitution, each State has an inherent right to determine where its capital functions should be carried out.

Reasons for AP’s consideration

(1) Viable option of Visakhapatnam

  • Even in the combined State, Vizag has always been the second-largest city after Hyderabad.
  • It has all of the characteristics of a good living space.

(2) Sri Krishna panel recommendations

  • The Sri Krishna Committee, formed to study the alternatives for a new capital for the state of Andhra Pradesh, deliberated extensively on the advantages and qualities of Visakhapatnam to become the capital.
  • When it came to alternative capital ideas, the Committee primarily considered three options: the creation of a single city or supercity in a greenfield location, the expansion of existing cities, and distributed development.

(3) Decentralisation

  • The Sri Bagh Pact elaborately described this concept.
  • The agreement clearly defined decentralisation for the benefit of all three major regions, including Coastal AP, Godavari and Krishna districts, and Rayalaseema.

Significant practical issues

  • Continuum of work: The government claims that the Assembly only meets after several months, and that government Ministers, officers, and staff can simply travel to Amaravati as needed.
  • Coordination between legislative and executive branches in separate cities will be a logistical nightmare.
  • Travel time and costs: Distances in Andhra Pradesh are not insignificant. Visakhapatnam is 700 kilometres from Kurnool, the judicial capital, and 400 kilometres from Amaravati, the legislative capital.

India has several multi-capital states.

  • Maharashtra has two capitals among Indian states: Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly).
  • Shimla and Dharamshala are the state capitals of Himachal Pradesh (winter).
  • Darbar Move is carried out in the former state of Jammu & Kashmir’s capitals of Srinagar and Jammu (winter).
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