Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister
A representational picture: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu NaiduAP government

Even before the Andhra Pradesh government could announce the location for the state's new capital, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLAs have started to put pressure on the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to name it after late chief minister, NT Rama Rao (NTR).

Naidu is to reveal the capital's location in the ongoing Assembly session on Thursday, 4 September. The cabinet on Monday is said to have zeroed-in on a location near Vijayawada, despite a suggestion by Sivaramakrishnan Committee that building the capital there would gulp up vast area of agriculture land bringing a threat to the state's food security.

Social organisations like Human Rights Forum (HRF) have opposed Vijayawada location for the state's new capital.

"We concur with the recommendation of the Sivaramakrishnan Committee," Deccan Chronicle quoted HRF president S Jeevan Kumar, "that locating the capital in this area would entail loss of precious agricultural land that would impact negatively upon food security and the environment and would also displace farmers and agricultural labourers in large numbers. Discarding this recommendation would amount to a historic blunder,"

The forum supported Sivaramakrishnan panel's recommendation to decentralise the capital city's administration to other cities of the state.

Building a "single super city" for the state's capital is undesirable and it should be centrally located to be reachable to people from all parts of the state, according to Sivaramakrishnan. And land acquisition for the capital city should not have displacement of people, the committee has suggested.

However, the ruling TDP cadre, including some ministers on Tuesday met Naidu and appealed him to name the proposed new capital city near Vijayawada after late NTR.

Irrigation Minister Devineni Umamaheswar Rao, Agriculture Minister Prattipati Pulla Rao and senior TD MLA Dhoolipala Narendra asked Naidu to name the new capital as NTR Nagar on the lines of Gujarat's capital city, Gandhinagar.

Even farmers are ready to give their lands between Vijayawada and Guntur to build the capital city if the government is going to name it after NTR, the TDP MLAs added.

Within the TDP, a few others are against the idea of naming the state's new capital after NTR. They argue that the proposed world-class capital city's name should reflect the historical background of the state. Several colonies in the state, including some slum areas, are already named as NTR Nagar and the new capital should not become one among them, they say.

All speculations on the location of AP's new capital city will come to an end on Thursday, when Naidu makes a statement in the State Assembly on Thursday.