GN Rao panel against new investments at Amaravati

Vijayawada: The GN Rao Committee set up by the State Government has recommended scaling down of developmental activities at Amaravati. The contention is that as Amaravati is located in the midst of a fully-developed zone, there was no need for future investments. The adjoining lands and canals could be utilized for solar farming, felt the committee, whose guiding principle is summarised in Para (5)of the report, which essentially opposed the blind concentration of resources at only one place.

The committee, constituted to recommend a strategy for a comprehensive development of the entire State submitted its report to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday.

“The flow of all available capital to one city and its disproportionate wealth accumulation leads to unlivable, large urbanized areas, while the rest of settlements are relegated to the poor quality of life in the absence of educational, health and other social infrastructure. This further leads to great regional imbalance,” the report’s introduction reads.

The report, a copy of which is with the writer, basically laid emphasis on the decentralization of capital Amaravati and recommended against taking up new projects in the area. It specifically asked the government to restrict future activities to the areas where some investments are already made. It also advised the government to ensure that investments already made do not go waste.

“While it will not be advisable continuing investing at Amravati from the point of view of an already urbanized node in the regional settlement pattern, it will equally not be proper to let the already invested sums to go waste. As such, the correct approach would be to revisit the on-going developments and also scale down the overall magnitude of development at Amravati,” the report states.

It favoured shifting of focus on Rayalaseema while simultaneously recommending reduction of pressure on the coastal region.

Important recommendations regarding Amaravati (42 to 48 in the report)

42. Considering that the State Government has already made some public investment, the expenditure incurred needs to be brought to a stage of completion to enable public use. Given this context, the only land where construction commitments are already made may be seen as potential areas for further development.

43. Along with the completion of the already committed areas to a scaled-down habitable condition, the Blue System Networks for flood control and water management also need to be completed to secure the land for future.

44. In such a scenario, the area above the canal and other open lands available with Government ownership can be used for Solar Farms and Urban Agriculture. The entire canal system which will be open to the sky can be partially covered with solar panels, as they are under Government ownership. This has the twin benefits of providing contiguous systems on which Solar Energy Panels can be mounted with a rudimentary structure, while the panels will cut the sun falling on the water reducing evaporation loss.

45. The twin moves of bringing in urban farming and Solar Power harvesting has the benefits of ensuring energy security, food security and water security rolled into one.

46. A consolidation of these areas as a planned linear development cutting across the two Districts will help regulate the inevitable unauthorized growth along the highway.

47. As per the direction of the Hon’ble NGT, riverfront developments are to be avoided.

48. The buildings and landscapes proposed in generous land parcels and grand public posturing is an expensive development and can be modified to provide a practical solution that is not wasteful public money.

The committee was critical of the way the forest lands had been denotified by the previous government. Forest resources, it said, had been mercilessly subject to denotification in the name of for road widening and developmental programmes. Recommending discontinuance of such a practice, it suggested initiatives to regenerate the lost forest cover.

It may recalled that the previous government had sought denotification of forest lands to the extent of 13,000 ha in Guntur and Krishna districts for the construction of Amaravati capital.

Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a Hyderabad based journalist. He covered the entire spectrum of political activities of Telugu states from Hyderabad and New Delhi for about 3 decades. He represented Vaartha in New Delhi during the most happening decade of 1996-2006. He was political correspondent of Times of India from Hyderabad for 10 years. He was editor of Asianet’s Telugu digital platform. He contributed to many digital media outlets such as Al Jazeera, News 18, Newsable, South Post, The Lede ,Down to Earth etc. He is known for his Anthropological approach in the news analysis. He studied Physical Anthropology and prehistoric archaeology with Human population genetics as specialization, and his area of interest is Political Anthropology and Media Anthropology.

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