Having set the ball in motion, now former union power secretary EAS Sarma writes to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asking him to refrain from attending the Amaravati foundation laying ceremony on October 22, 2015, for the simple reason that capital project is anti-people. We reproduce the letter here. A couple of days ago Sarma wrote to PM urging him to think twice before attending Amaravati ceremony. The letter triggered a campaign by public spirited people writing letters to PM with a request not to join the ill-conceived capital project inauguration.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal
Subject:- Shri Chandrababu Naidu’s invitation to you to attend the inauguaration of the new capital city on October 22nd at Amaravati near Guntur- Objections
I underatand that Shri Chandrababu Naidu, CM (AP) has invited you to attend the inauguration of the new capital city on October 21st at Amaravati near Guntur. I would strongly recommend that you should refrain from attending the inauguration for the following reasons.
The State government is forcibly acquiring several thousands of fertile agricultural land adjacent to River Krishna for this project, disrupting the lives of lakhs of farmers, agricultural workers, artisans and so on.
The area where the capital city is being set up comprises vast stretches of land on which more than a hundred different types of crops are grown. There are hundreds of water bodies over that land which will get adversely affected. The project will affect the food security of the State.
In this age of modern communications, there is no need for such a grandiose capital city comprising of concrete structures, a delight for real estate developers, who are in nexus with the State’s political leaders. The small and marginal farmers do not derive any benefit from the acquisition of land.
The project violates Section 6 of the AP Reorganisation Act in pursuance of which the Union Home Ministry has set down the criteria for locating the capital city. Till date, the State authorities have not cared to evaluate the environment impact of the project and failed to go through the statutory environment impact assessment process that provides for public consultation. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued an interim order staying further work on the capital city but the State is proceeding obstinately, streamrolling the statutory procedure.
The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MOEF) is trying to bypass all statutory procedures since BJP is an ally of TDP. On the other hand, the same BJP-dominated government has defied every norm of cooperative federalism vis a vis the Delhi government that you head today!
Bowing down to pressure from real estate developers, the State has also violated the statutory procedure laid down in AP Agricultural Land (Conversion for Non-Agricultural Purposes) Act, 2006.
In the name of the State’s pride, the State authorities are splurging money on the inaugural function at the cost of payments for genuine development work. This project has turned out to be a bottomless pit for public expenditire, resulting in syphoning off of funds from the backward north AP and Rayalaseema districts, leading to regional discrimination. There has been no public consultation on this project at any time.
Against this background, I leave it to you to consider what I have indicated above and decide on whether you will participate in the inaugural function or not.
In my view, if you respect the law of the land and care for democratic processes, you should refrain from attending the function.
I enclose a copy of my letter to the Prime Minister’s Office suggesting that the PM should also do likewise.
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