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Why environmental activists silent on Andhra's new capital region?
The government of Andhra Pradesh has chosen the area in the region of Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali for establishment of it's capital city. The government proposes to aquire over one lakh acres of fertile land in this region for construction of the new capital and the related infrastructure. The state government is in fact going ahead with acquisition of about 40,000 acres initially, through what it terms a "Land Pooling Scheme", and proposes to start construction of the new capital in the near future.
The area where the new capital is proposed to be set up is one of the most fertile zones in AP, where farmers raise two or even three agricultural crops in a year. A wide variety of agricultural and horticultural produce comes out of this zone and lakhs of families of farmers have been making their livelihood from agriculture for generations in this area. The river Krishna, a life line for millions of people in the state, courses through this area before finally reaching the Bay of Bengal.

Construction of a capital city in this area would be an ecological disaster and is sure to result in a sociological nightmare, uprooting lakhs of families of the farmers. The government of Andhra Pradesh, under the influence of a powerful real estate lobby, has ignored the recommendations of an expert committee set up by the Indian government to choose the capital for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh consequent upon creation of Telangana.

Grandiose plans for construction of a city of international standards along side the Krishna river front are being made without making any study on the ecological or social impact of this action.

That very powerful vested interests are behind this move is very obvious, when you consider that the government is going ahead with land acquisition, even before the plans for the proposed Capital are drawn up - virtually putting the cart before the horse - and displaying an indecent eagerness to acquire land.

Apart from the vast pool of land which the government is acquiring in the name of construction of the capital city, lakhs acres of fertile land in the surrounding areas are sure to be converted for commercial ventures and this green bowl is going to be turned in to a concrete jungle, triggering what would be an environmental disaster for the whole of the state.

The plans to build a city alongside the Krishna river front, would surely turn this pristine river in to a cesspool of effluents and human waste, as it happened in the case of river Musi in Hyderabad, or Cooum in Chennai or for that matter the Yamuna in Delhi.

The social impact of this decision of the government, which is going to uproot lakhs of families in this area who for generations relied on the produce from the farm lands for their living is scary. The rural populace in this zone form the backbone of the rich cultural heritage of the Andhra and the impact of uprooting them on the cultural fabric of the society hereabouts will be tragic.

Sadly the environmental and social activists who are usually in the forefront fighting injustice to people in various other parts of the country, are not seen in this area. It's therefore, a fit case for the National Green Tribunal, to intervene suo moto and initiate suitable action to evaluate the social and ecological impact of construction of the capital city in the proposed area, and dissuade the state government from proceeding with the proposed construction, till such evaluation is done.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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