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Andhra Pradesh Dream Capital Amaravati Hits Green Hurdle, CM Naidu Says All is Well

Andhra Pradesh Dream Capital Amaravati Hits Green Hurdle, CM Naidu Says All is WellHyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government’s plan to build a greenfield capital city Amaravati has hit a green hurdle, with the Centre’s forest panel rejecting the proposal which lacks a suitable land-use plan and a compensatory afforestation scheme.
The proposed new capital which will come up on the banks of river Krishna between Vijayawada and Guntur, may now have to fight a legal battle before its construction begins.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had sought forest clearance for diversion of 13,267.12 hectares of forest land in favour of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRD) for building the city, which is to come up at an initial cost of Rs 27,000 crore.
A revised proposal regarding the same, was submitted on April 25. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) — the highest body in the Union Environment Ministry that assesses proposals for diversion of forest lands — examined the Andhra Pradesh government’s revised proposal on July 12.
“In a recent meeting, the FAC examined the proposal. It heard the state government’s request to exempt the land-use plan, among others. After detailed deliberation, the FAC asked the state to submit the detailed land-use plan,” a senior Environment Ministry official said.
Reacting to this Naidu said he was confident of clearing all hurdles, and the construction of the new capital would not be affected in any manner. The minister had even discussed the special status for Andhra Pradesh with the Prime Minister, during his recent visit to the capital.
The state government was informed that the purpose-wise breakup is of particular significance in decision-making. On whether to permit the diversion of entire forest land sought, or whether smaller land could be utilized; or whether no land would be permitted for the activity, the official said.
The FAC has also asked the state government to clarify as to how much land has been sought for Amaravati city and for the Andhra Pradesh capital region, separately, the official said.
The main opposition, YSR Congress Party led by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, has been attacking the project, calling it a land-grabbing scheme. It is alleging that parts of the new city is being built on flood plains of Krishna River without any scientific study, and could be disastrous in the future.
Top real estate firms, meanwhile, are predicting that Amaravati property prices will match those of other top cities in India.
(With PT


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