Industry representatives seem upbeat about Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy's plan to have three capitals for Andhra Pradesh. Reddy had recently said in the state assembly that there was a possibility of creating three capital cities instead of one. Amaravati would continue to be the capital for the legislature, but Vizag would be capital for the executive and Kurnool for the judiciary.
Most seemed upbeat about the naming of Vizag because, it is already seen as one with an ecosystem developed in terms of IT, pharma and public sector units and is relatively more cosmopolitan.
Some are sceptical of the prospect, though. Multiple capitals would mean more leg work for industry representatives as they would have to visit more than one location to discuss or pursue their projects. Coproates are hoping this does not pan out into a situation where one part of decision is finalised in Vizag and the other in Amaravati. Even if technology has ensured that travel is not necessary, a meeting still needs to be held and this could entail some logistical challenges, one entrepreneur pointed out.
The proposal to have more than one capital has not taken the industry entirely by surprise, though, as some pointed to the examples from other states. In Rajasthan for instance, the high court is located in Jodhpur, and not in the capital city of Jaipur. Even Maharashtra has summer and winter capitals. However, in Andhra Pradesh, there is still no clarity in the way the capitals are being defined and the industry seems keen to wait for that first.
Waiting for the plans to unfold, some did feel multiple capitals for Andhra Pradesh could be a solution for the cash-strapped state. Others are of the opinion it would have better if the state had also simultaneously come out with a clearly articulated industry-attracting policy with measures that could assuage worries around possible revoking of land allotments already made for some industry projects.
The overall sentiment seems to be that given the priorities of the Andhra Pradesh government, and the focus on education, health and agriculture sectors, the whopping Rs 1.09 lakh crore state budget could be put to better use by building more than one capital city. Most are expecting to see some basic infrastructure being developed in these locations. An expert committee has already been set up. The G N Rao-led expert panel has already toured the districts and submitted its report.