Virtually ruling out development of Amaravati as the only state capital, he told the Assembly that building capital city Amaravati would be like a dream-chasing as this would cost Rs 30 lakh crore and take at least 100 years.
He was replying to a short discussion in the house on Decentralisation-Administrative Reforms.
The discussion assumed significance in view of the second Maha Padyatra launched by farmers and other locals of 29 villages of Amaravati region demanding implementation of the High Court order for development of Amaravati.
Jagan Mohan Reddy dismissed the long foot march as a drama and said it was aimed at fomenting regional hatred by provoking people of other regions.
He alleged that those involved in irregularities in land transactions in Amaravati and those who want to protect their lands and other interests were behind the protest for the last 1,000 days.
On the demand for development of Amaravati as the only capital, he remarked that the state was not restricted to just 8 square km radius or 50,000 acre land parcel.
Claiming that he is not against this region (south coastal Andhra), Jagan, as the leader is popularly known, said he wants to develop it at par with other regions and this was the reason the government decided to make Amaravati one of the three capitals.
As per the three-capital formula mooted by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government Visakhapatnam in north coastal Andhra will be developed as administrative capital, Kurnool in Rayalaseema region as judicial capital, and Amaravati in south coastal Andhra as legislative capital.
Jagan stated that Rs 1.05 lakh crore would be required for developing just the basic infrastructure like roads, drains and power supply in Amaravati. On the other hand, spending just Rs 10,000 crore on Visakhapatnam would be sufficient as basic infrastructure is readily available there, he said.
Explaining why he believes development of Amaravati is like dream-chasing, the Chief Minister said the state was not even in position to spend Rs 1,000 crore or Rs 2,000 crore per annum on capital works.
He said at this rate, it will take 100 years to build the capital city and because of inflation, the cost will go up to Rs 20 lakh crore or Rs 30 lakh crore. He remarked that a state, whose 80 per cent population is still living on white ration cards, can never mobilise such a huge amount of money.
Hitting out at his predecessor N. Chandrababu Naidu, Jagan said the previous government could not go beyond graphics.
He said those who cheated people through false hopes in the name of Amaravati development should be booked under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
He also dismissed the argument that Amaravati can be developed as a capital city through a self-financing model and pointed out that only 4,997 acres of land was available for sale.
The Chief Minister recalled that in February 2019, the Chandrababu Naidu government issued an order that 5,020 acres of land is available for commercial monetisation. “Now, we have to sell each acre for Rs 20 crore to raise Rs one lakh crore, required only for creation of basic infrastructure. How could it be a self-financing project when the land did not command such a price,” he asked.
Earlier, the debate saw heated exchange between members of ruling YSRCP and opposition TDP.
Pandemonium over certain allegations made by the YSRCP over insider trading in Amaravati lands and the protest by the TDP led to suspension of the opposition legislators.
Speaker Tammineni Seetharam suspended 16 members of the TDP when they trooped towards his podium demanding an opportunity for party leader P. Keshav to speak.
Earlier, responding to allegations made against him, Keshav threw a challenge that if the ruling party proved them he would resign and give the lands to the ruling party leaders.