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Vizag capital: Centre trying to cover-up its goof-up?

Vizag capital: Centre trying to cover-up its goof-up?

The report that the Narendra Modi government has acknowledged Visakhapatnam as the capital of Andhra Pradesh has triggered uproar in the pro-TDP media and jubilation in the pro-YSR Congress camp.

The Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s office (CMO) has leaked to the media the answer given by Union minister for petroleum and natural gas Hardeep Singh Puri in Lok Sabha declaring that Vizag is the capital of Andhra Pradesh, while answering a starred question on impact of rising fuel prices on the country’s economy.

The YSRC leaders have described it as an endorsement by the Centre for Visakhapatnam as the state capital and it is only a matter of time that the administrative capital is shifted to the port city.

Since afternoon, the pro-TDP media has been raising a hue and cry over the Union minister’s statement in the Lok Sabha. TV5 the Telugu television channel known for its blatant pro-TDP stand, conducted a debate in the evening, where the participants lashed out at the Centre for declaring Vizag as the capital though the issue is still in the court.

Late in the evening, TV5 came out with a clarification purportedly issued by the Centre through Press Information Bureau, on the statement made by the Union petroleum minister on July 26.

In the clarification, the Centre said the statement was made only to list out the fuel prices in various states and their variation in state levies and taxes. It suggested that in the column 3, it should be read as capital/reference city and not just as capital, as it was meant for indicating the fuel prices.

The reference city for Haryana was shown as Ambala, not its capital Chandigarh; and for Punjab, the reference city was shown as Jallandhar, which is not its capital city.

“Even the Lok Sabha secretariat was asked to carry out the clarification,” the PIB statement said.

So, the TV5 anchor tried to impress upon the participants in the debate and the viewers that the Centre has mentioned Vizag beside Andhra Pradesh only as a reference city for mentioning the fuel price; and not as the capital of the state.

The participants in the debate found fault with the Centre for giving a vague clarification, as the statement does not say Visakhapatnam is not the capital city but only a reference city.

In fact, for all the other states union territories, their capital cities were mentioned as the reference cities for fuel prices. Chandigarh, which is also a Union territory, was listed independently, though it is a common capital for both Punjab and Haryana.

Since Chandigarh was already listed separately, Jallandhar and Ambala were shown as separate cities for Punjab and Haryana respectively. Otherwise, the Centre has sought to take only capital cities as reference cities and thus, Vizag was shown as the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

But since it has kicked up controversy and might pose legal problems, the Centre issued a clarification in the evening to cover up its goof-up!


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