The writing is on the wall. Ahead of the high-power committee’s evaluation on the decentralised Capital for the State, Visakhapatnam is buzz with action on the ground.
While the Millennium Towers in the IT SEZ is touted to be the building to house the Secretariat and the CMO, the Secretariat employees are scouting for residential accommodation in the port city.
For the record, the YSRCP government had commissioned the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the G.N. Rao Committee to suggest options for the development of capital infrastructure in the backdrop of financial constraints to fund the Amaravati project in over 34,000 acres.
The government is of the view that the grand plan of nine cities in Amaravati, conceptualised by the TDP government, cannot be built as the State exchequer can’t afford to spend an estimated ₹1 lakh crore needed for it.
The high-power committee, comprising senior bureaucrats and Ministers, is evaluating the reports submitted by the BCG and G.N. Rao Committee, and is expected to submit its report soon.
On the other side, the farmers of 29 villages in Amaravati, who had parted with their land for a world-class Capital city, have been protesting the move to shift the Capital for the past few weeks.
The G.N. Rao Committee had recommended the Legislative capital at Amaravati, the Executing capital at Visakhapatnam and the Judicial capital at Kurnool.
On similar lines, the BCG report too had recommended a decentralised development model.
Sources in the Secretariat and the CMO in Amaravati say that the government is likely to zero in on the Millennium Towers to house the Secretariat and the CMO.
Speaking to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, a source in the CMO said, “Vizag seems to be the most probable location, and the Millennium Towers is under active consideration. This information is certain, but none will confirm it.”
A couple of teams, comprising top bureaucrats, have already made several visits to the Millennium Towers and other major buildings in the port city to choose the best ones for the Secretariat and other key infrastructure.
What lends credence to the buzz is that several Secretariat employees are said to be scouting for residential accommodation in the ‘City of Destiny’.
It is learnt that a few departments have been asked to make arrangements in the likelihood of an announcement in this regard in a week or two.
“We have heard from those who are privy to information that there can be a shift and that we need to be ready to start working from there (Vizag) as soon as the announcement is made,” said an employee in the Education Department in the Secretariat.
“Similar is the case with the employees of the General Administration, Finance and other departments,” he said.
When asked about the details on the ground, Visakhapatnam district Collector V. Vinay Chand said there was a discussion about the Millennium Towers and the possibility of conducting the Republic Day parade here. “But nothing has been formalised yet in that direction,” he added.
The Millennium Towers is a massive structure located on one of the four hills near Madhurawada on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. It was planned to be an IT hub. Some of the global IT majors have already started functioning in the IT SEZ.
It is to be noted here that the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) has served notices on some IT firms in the SEZ for not starting their operations.