CRDA Issues Notification For Houses Acquisition In Capital

The APCRDA will acquire houses, shops and other structures to form internal roads in Amaravati through negotiations.

Amaravati: The AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) had issued notification for the acquisition of lands, houses, shops, cattle sheds and other establishments in the existing villages for the internal roads. The notification was issued on Wednesday evening which empowered the CRDA to take up acquisition through negotiations with the owners.

The APCRDA would acquire houses, vacant house sites, cattle sheds, small business establishments and agriculture lands holding negotiations with the owners. The CRDA, as per the notification, would give house sites to the owners and provide compensation to them besides paying expenses for shifting to the new place. The houses taken for the road would be valued and compensation is paid two times to the value, the APCRDA said.

If the artisans are displaced in the process, the APCRDA would pay a monthly compensation of Rs 2,500 for a period of 10 years, if they are not covered under the pension in the Land Pooling System. The APCRDA would also pay Rs 50,000 one-time cost for shifting of the houses, Rs 25,000 for construction of petty-shops, cattle sheds and artisans establishments.

The houses removed from the residential areas would be given equal extent of houses in the capital residential zone, while the vacant house sites, cattle sheds and other establishments would be compensated with the equal extent of land in the non-commercial areas.

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APCRDA Sends Legal Notice To Maki Associates

The APCRDA has sent a legal notice to the Maki Associates for its alleged malicious campaign against the government.

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) had sent a legal notice to the Maki Associates Inc., which was dropped from the master developer competition for the new capital, Amaravati.

Cautioning of taking further steps like filing a damage suit seeking punitive damage of Rs 100 crores, the APCRDA asked the Maki Associates to stop making any further comments against the government or the APCRDA.

The APCRDA justified the termination of the contract with the Maki on the ground that the company had failed to provide genuine and quality designs for the capital.

The Hyderabad-based advocates, J Sagar Associates, emailed a six-page notice to the Maki Associates with 16 points.

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APCRDA Holds Consultation On Amaravati Designs

APCRDA additional commissioners A Mallikharjuna and V Ramamanohara Rao and others were present.

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) on Friday held consultations with the students and teachers of national institutions on the new capital Amaravati designs. APCRDA Commissioner Cherukuri Sreedhar while inaugurating the day-long workshop wanted the people and experts to give their advice on the designs of the new capital. He said that the government was planning to have the new capital that reflects the tradition and culture of the Telugu people.

Stating that the new capital would be a global green city, Sreedhar said that the government particular on developing the new city into a global destination for the people to live and work. He presented the designs submitted by the consultant, Norman Foster Plus and invited the students and teachers to give their suggestions.

CRDA planning department director R Ramakrishna Rao presented the draft designs of the capital city and the government complexes proposed to come in Amaravati. The participants were divided into five groups for detailed discussion on the proposals. Each group was given a topic like livable urban environment, mobility-transportation, social and environmental sustainability, blue and green elements, futuristic and smart concept for generation next city.

Students and teachers from the Delhi School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada School of Planning and Architecture, Vaishnavi School of Planning from Hyderabad, CEPT University from Ahmadabad, Andhra University, Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University from Hyderabad took part in the workshop.

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APCRDA Presents Capital Designs To MLAs

DARA GOPI

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) had made a power point presentation on the Amaravati city designs submitted by the Norman Foster group on Saturday. CRDA principle secretary Ajay Jain gave the power point presentation to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and the legislators in the Assembly Hall.

Ajay Jain said that the city Amaravati would have 27 kilometers long waterfront along the river. The city would have nine theme cities and 24 townships. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu would lay foundation stone for the seven important roads in the capital on Ugadi day. The speed access roads work is scheduled to be completed by the end of May.

The administrative city would come up in 900 acres and the final designs would be ready by the end of April. The city would have two iconic towers that would be completed by December 2018.

The Chief Minister had directed the APCRDA officials to get suggestions from the experts on the designs and ensure that the final designs are ready by the end of April.

Meanwhile Opposition YSR Congress boycotted the power point presentation of the Amaravati plans. Jagan Mohan Reddy said that the Chief Minister was fooling people by talking so great about power point presentations and digital presentations of the capital plans. He said that the government had taken some more time out of the Assembly without giving a chance to the Opposition to raise peoples’ problems.

YSR Congress legislator R K Roja said that the Chief Minister had entered the third player in the capital planning. She said that the government had first released one set of plans and claimed that Amaravati would be like that. Later, Japan’s Maki Associates had entered the drama and submitted new plans which were again claimed to be the designs for the Amaravati city. Now, a third player, Norman Fosters had joined the high digital drama to fool the people with new designs.

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Preserve historical impressions in capital villages

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The government heritage advisor G Amareswar told the AP Capital Region Development Authoirty (APCRDA) to preserve the historical impressions available in all the capital villages. Addressing a meeting of the officials Amareswar addressed the officials and the elders of the capital villages, where he had asked them to identify the heritage impressions and preserve them in the new capital.

He asked the officials to preserve the heritage agriculture implements, the living style of the people, celebration of festivals and other impressions that are available in the capital villages. He also wanted them to preserve the language, rural art forms and the historical impressions and preserve them for future generations. He also directed them to preserve the ancient buildings, temples and the sculpture used in the temple pillars and surroundings.

He directed the officials to create Nelapadu, Rayapudi and Lingayapalem as clusters for the 29 capital villages and prepare village map identifying the heritage impressions. He wanted the officials to be in touch with the elders of every villages to know more about history of the village and other heritage information.

CRDA social development wing deputy director Y V V N Prasad Babu, village elders Vejendla Sivaprasad, Dhanekula Nageswara Rao, Pardhasaradhi and others were present.

 

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9 internal cities in Amaravati get the land

  • Master plan to be ready by Feb 22

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The AP Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) is getting ready to receive the master plan for the prestigious world class capital – Amaravati. The master designers are set to submit the plan and designs for the buildings on February 22.

Meanwhile, the government had allocated the lands for the nine internal cities that were proposed as part of the new capital. The nine internal cities – Administrative City, Justice City, Finance City, Knowledge City, Electronics City, Health City, Sports City, Media City and Tourism city – were given lands and the APCRDA had earmarked the places where these cities are to be constructed. Each of the cities would have both official and residential sectors and the residential would be exclusively for those working in the respective city.

As the new Amaravati city which is set to come up in 217.23 square kilometers will have the nine internal cities. The government had allocated the highest of 11,574 acres for the Tourism City that is set to come along the river from Undavalli, while the lowest of 2702 acres of land was allocated for the Administrative City that would have all the government establishments including the Assembly and Secretariat. This city is planned to come up along the river Krishna between Tallayapalem and Uddandarayapalem. The Finance City, to be located between the Tourism City and the Administrative City around Venkatapalem, was given 5,168 acres. The Finance City would have all the financial institutions of both government and private sectors.

Sports City that is coming up between Thulluru and Borupalem would have all the indoor and outdoor stadia, sports ministry and department on a sprawling 4150 acres. This city would also have sports-based industries for which the APCRDA had allocated 134 acres. There would be guest houses for the visiting guests and sports persons whenever an event is organised.

The Justice City would house the State High Court, all legal departments, residences of judges and employees on a 3438 acres located between Velagapudi and Rayapudi.

The Media City with 5107 acres around Nekkallu and Nelapadu would have all the media offices, both print and electronic media, web media. The city would also have the residences of the media personnel.

The Health City, now planned 6511 acres around Nidamarru and Kuragallu villages would have the Ministry and Departments of Medical and Health, the University of Health Sciences, all corporate hospitals, pharmacies and medical and health related industries, besides the residences for the officers and employees of the sector.

The 6582 acre Electronic City proposed near Krishnayapalem and Bethapudi would have electronic industries, offices of both government and private sector.

The Knowledge City proposed between Venkatapalem and Mandadam villages would have all universities and technical institutions of both government and private sectors.

The nine cities are connected with three roads of each 60 meter wide. In addition, there would be internal roads of each 50 meters and 25 meters wide providing better connectivity. A six-lane inner ring road is also proposed for 97.5 km connecting all these nine cities. This would follow an 8-lane outer ring road for 186 km and 134 km long metro rail project.

The APCRDA is planning to present this to the Chief Minister on February 22, along with the draft master plan to be submitted by the master architects. The work on these cities and plans are likely to begin in the second week of March.

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APCRDA to register farmers’ plots on the day of allocation

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) would help the farmers of the capital villages to get their plots registered on the same day of allocation.

Speaking at a sensitization workshop organized for the CRDA staff on Friday, APCRDA Commissioner Cherukuri Sreedhar asked the officials not to make the farmers run around the government offices for registration. He said that the farmers have made highest sacrifice by giving their lands to the government in pooling for the capital city construction. The APCRDA is now giving developed plots to the farmers in both residential and commercial areas in return for their lands, he said. He wanted the officials to make sure that these plots are registered in the name of the beneficiary farmers on the same day of allocation.

He directed the officials to ensure that the registration number is generated the very moment when the farmers submit 9.14 form. He also wanted the officials to generate supplementary agreement and registration of plot on the same day. He asked the officials to open help desks for the farmers in the APCRDA offices in all the villages.

The Commissioner said that the APCRDA would also pay the registration charges, stamp duty and other expenses on behalf of the farmers. This would amount to Rs 1.25 crores, he said and added that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had cleared the project.

The APCRDA commissioner also instructed the officials to take over the government lands in all the capital villages. This process has to be completed in the next 15 days, he said and added that the peg marking survey and jungle clearance in these lands is in progress and wanted the officials to monitor the work and ensure that it is also completed at the earliest.

The CRDA commissioner also instructed the officials to help the landless poor and the youth in the villages to register their names for pension and employment respectively. This registration can be done at the Mee Seva centers, he said.

He further said that the government had sanctioned 5,000 houses in the capital villages for the eligible beneficiaries. These houses would come in 650 square yards at a cost of Rs 6.50 lakh each of which the State and the Central governments would share 50 per cent, while the beneficiary would have to pay the remaining.

Sreedhar said that the APCRDA in the last two years had done a lot of work and had faced several difficulties in pooling the land and planning for the capital city. The experiences are to be taken by every employee to further the activities of the APCRDA in the days to come, he added. He said that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had appreciated the sacrifice of the farmers who had given their lands for the State. In recognition of their sacrifice, the Central government had given Capital Gains tax exemption to the farmers, which is a welcome move, he added.

Guntur District Joint Collector Krutika Shukla said that the administration was getting ready for land acquisition under 2013 Act as some of the farmers have not given their lands in pooling. This process would be completed shortly, she said.

APCRDA lands director BL Chennakesava Rao, chief engineer Kasi Visweswara Rao, planning director R Ramakrishna Rao, development promotion director V Ramudu and other officials were present.

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39 star hotels show interest in Amaravati

  • All arterial roads to be completed by next year-end

Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu held a review meeting on Amaravati on Wednesday and said that development should not confine just to the capital area and that services should be decentralized.

CRDA commissioner informed the Chief Minister that they are holding a meeting with managers of star hotels, representatives of schools and colleges and are in the process of identifying land. “A total of 39 hotels like Taj, ITC, Novotel have come forward and we are holding a meeting with hospital groups this month on November 11,” the CRDA commissioner said.

The officials informed the Chief Minister that by December 31, 2017 all arterial roads and sub arterial roads of 270 km would be completed at an estimated cost of 3,600 crores.   Besides, 130 km of collector roads will be laid, the officials said. The CM warned the officials that no water logging should be seen and asked them not to compromise on quality and standards.

Naidu asked the officials to take up works on priority basis and said that economic activity should start immediately. He instructed the officials to build bridges, dams and storm water drainages along the roads.

The officials informed Naidu that they are in the process of identifying areas for establishing iconic parks while the CRDA commissioner said plot allotment for 10 villages has been completed.

The Chief Minister asked the officials to build a world class stadium to conduct national games by 2018. Later, he spoke on the development of the legal city and said that the city should be a one stop place for all legal services.

-NSS

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AP to implement ‘Urja Mitra’ by Nov-end

Vijayawada: To accelerate the implementation of various developmental works in the energy sector, in tune with the objectives of the AP government,  Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary, Energy I&I, CRDA, has reviewed the operational and financial performance of all power utilities in the state — APTransco, AP Genco and APDiscoms — with the concerned chairman and managing directors and other senior officials.

He stressed the need to implement national ‘Urja Mitra’ programme in two Discoms in Andhra Pradesh by the end of next month. Urja Mitra is a helpline through which customers can get information about power outages from distribution companies by dialing 14401. The helpline was launched by the Department of Telecom (DoT) of the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology last month.

Urja Mitra Helpline is for pan-India usage to send information through voice calls and SMSes. The information will apprise customers of power situation in their area so that they can plan accordingly. It is a mandatory service, which will be provided by all the telecom operators

At the previous power ministers’ conference held in Vadodara it was decided to set up a national-level dashboard to review the progress of “Urja Mitra” programme on a real time basis. The AP government has decided to hold the next power ministers’ conference in Visakhapatnam.

Officials said that the subscriptions to the Bonds issued by the state government as part of its commitment to UDAY scheme are encouraging. Against a target of Rs 8,256.01 crores, Rs 7,376 crores has been subscribed with low interest rates.

-NSS

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Why AP should not adopt Swiss Challenge

EAS Sarma

EAS Sarma

The Andhra Pradesh government is contemplating to adopt the ‘Swiss Challenge’ method for selecting project developers/ consultants for Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development  Authority (APCRDA) projects.

The AP Infrastructure Development Enabling Act, 2001, refers to the Swiss Challenge as one of the methods for selection of project developers but the Act restricts it to Category II projects. These are defined as those which require the government or a government agency to provide asset support, financial incentives in the form of contingent liabilities or direct financial support, facilities such as water connection etc, and confer exclusive rights on the developer.  In the case of APCRDA projects, none of these conditions seem to apply; therefore, the Swiss Challenge approach should not be adopted.

Moreover, it has been recognised worldwide that the Swiss Challenge method for selection of project developers and consultants lacks transparency, involves arbitrariness and creates scope for corruption. To corroborate this, I cite the following observations made in the Report of the Committee on Revisiting and Revitalising Public Private Partnership Model of Infrastructure (Kelkar Committee) submitted as recently as in November, 2015 to the Union Finance Minister.

6.2.7 Unsolicited proposals (‘Swiss Challenge’) may be actively discouraged as they bring information asymmetries in the procurement process and result in lack of transparency and in the fair and equal treatment of potential bidders in the procurement process. Furthermore, the tendency of the authorities to call any pre-identified project to be delivered through a ‘DBFOT’ model (Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer) as ‘Swiss Challenge’ needs to be curbed. Unsolicited proposals are inherently different from DBFOT. A vague definition of the term ‘Swiss Challenge’ risks the danger of encouraging opacity in the bidding process.”

Some of these concerns have also been expressed by the apex court in some cases in which the Swiss Challenge had come up for a judicial scrutiny.

Therefore, the state government should not adopt the Swiss Challenge method in selecting project developers/ consultants. I am certain that, in case, projects are awarded on that basis, they will be subject to litigation and public criticism.

From media reports I understand the AP government is also considering handing over large stretches of land, earlier acquired from farmers, to foreign companies for commercial development on the premise that it would generate funds for the state to develop the infrastructure needed for the capital city at Amaravati.

In principle, this is not a prudent approach as indiscriminate foreign investment in real estate business is not permitted and, moreover, it will attract public criticism if fertile agricultural lands taken away from the farmers are to be handed over to foreign companies for commercial purposes. Legally, lands acquired for a “public purpose” cannot be alienated to foreign business agencies.

Despite all this, what is distressing is the AP government insisting on adopting the Swiss Challenge to select developers for 1700 acres within the Amaravati area, knowing well the cautionary recommendation given by the Kelkar Committee. 

The observations made recently by the AP High Court during the proceedings in respect of a case on the subject should make the government ponder seriously over the efficacy of the Swiss Challenge approach.

The state government is said to have been working at breakneck speed to amend the Infrastructure Development Enabling Act to pave the way for pushing through the proposal put forward by the Singapore Consortium.

According to a report in a Telugu newspaper (Sakshi, October 18, 2016), the proposed amendment will abridge the powers conferred on the State Infrastructure Authority, dilute the collective appraisal process and make it easy for the government to have its way as far as the Singapore Consortium’s proposal is concerned.

In my view, such an amendment is ill-advised, highly imprudent and self-defeating. It is likely to subject the government to further litigation, as any amendment that seeks to compromise the guidelines set out by the Supreme Court on the subject will be prima facie illegal.

In this connection, it is worth looking at the order dated 11-5-2009 pronounced by the  Supreme Court in Ravi Development Vs Shree Krishna Prathisthan & Others [Civil Appeal of 2009 arising out of SLP (C) No 13149/2008]. The observations made by the apex court are:

To make it (Swiss Challenge) an effective approach Swiss Challenge Method or any other encouraging concept should be duly publicized first. The effort of public-private participation can only be possible when private entities are aware of such scheme.

Also in the scheme of availing a new system thorough rules and regulations are needed to be followed otherwise unfairness, arbitrariness or ambiguity may creep in. In order to avoid such ill-effects the State Government is suggested to consider the following aspects:-

  1. The State/Authority shall publish in advance the nature of Swiss Challenge Method and particulars;
  2. Publish the nature of projects that can come under such method;
  3. Mention/notify the authorities to be approached with respect to the project plans;
  4. Mention/notify the various fields of the projects that can be considered under the method;
  5. Set rules regarding time limits on the approval of the project and respective bidding:
  6. The rules are to be followed after a project has been approved by the respective authorities to be considered under the method.
  7. All persons interested in such developmental activities should be given equal and sufficient opportunity to participate in such venture and there should be healthy inter se competition amongst such developers.

These suggestions are not exhaustive and the State is free to incorporate any other clauses for transparency and proper execution of the scheme. The State Government is suggested to frame regulations/instructions on the above lines and take necessary steps thereafter in future.”

In other words, whatever changes AP is now proposing to introduce in the relevant Act should enhance transparency, not lower it; widen scope for competition, not narrow it; minimise the conflict of interest, not increase scope for it; and ensure the best terms for the State, not create scope for compromising the public interest. If these norms stand infringed, it will hurt the public interest.

The political leadership should leave enough room for professionalism and transparency to prevail in decision making at the executive level, not interfere with it. Any dilution in the role of the State Infrastructure Authority will only enhance arbitrariness in decision making and create scope for corruption. 

(This is an edited version of letters  sent to S P Tucker, Chief Secretary, Government of AP, and earlier to his predecessor IYR Krishna Rao by E A S Sarma, former secretary, Government of India. Copies of the emailed letters have also been sent to the ministries of external affairs, home and labour).

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Environmentalists see red in Greenfield capital city plan

Jaya Prakash Adusumilli

Woven around the theme of blue of the Krishna River and green of the pastoral landscape, Amaravati, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is planned to spread over a 217.23 sq. km area in Guntur district while the metropolitan capital region spans 7,420 sq. km encompassing large parts of Guntur and Krishna districts.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s team scoured Singapore, Japan and China for inspiration and gave the core capital master plan work to a Singapore firm Surbana Jurong Private Limited, and the design to Japanese company Maki and Associates for the 16.9sq.km core capital straddling Uddandarayunipalem (where Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the capital on October 22, 2015), Lingayapalem and Thalayapalem.

Amaravati is being envisaged as “a smart, green, sustainable city”, with zones consisting of a central business district, residential areas, green zones and water bodies.

The blueprint for the core area has four distinct regions: Amaravati Government Core comprising Assembly, Secretariat, High Court and Raj Bhavan; the downtown area that has a central boulevard, convention centre and recreation facilities; the city gateway; and a 30km-long waterfront. It also has provision for a piazza with two iconic towers and a garden much bigger than the Brindavan in Karnataka.

“It is simple in its structure and sustainable,” says KT Ravindran, architect, urban planner and conservationist, who was part of the jury that selected Maki and Associates’ design.

However, there is skepticism about how much of these would actually transform into reality, given the completion deadline of 2018 and the projected cost of Rs 20,000 crore for the core capital area alone. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre has committed assistance of Rs.1,500 crore, which has led to some heartburn as Naidu expected more from the TDP’s ally. The YSR Congress party has also expressed reservations about resource mobilisation given that the state has inherited a revenue deficit of Rs 16,000 crore, doubts that heightened after the APCRDA postponed the allotment of developed plots at Nelapadu scheduled for June 20 due to “heavy rains”. But Naidu says he will tap multilateral agencies for funds.

The idea behind the ambitious deadline is obvious: the Chief Minister wants to showcase at least parts of the core capital to the people when he seeks their mandate in the next Assembly elections in 2019.

Environmentalists have called Amaravati a disaster in the making, since it is being built on a highly flood-prone and seismic zone. What’s more, the state government has been lobbying with the Centre for de-notification of 19,000 acres of forest area for inclusion in the capital region.

Former Union Energy Secretary EAS Sarma has shot off a letter to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change while a petition by another environmentalist is pending before the National Green Tribunal.

APCRDA Commissioner N Srikant, however, says the latest building technology would take care of such issues. Ravindran too says natural disasters can be tackled with proper hydrological engineering plans: “The key is not to resist water but work with it.”

With the fine-tuning of the master plan and design for the city still on, the government has gone ahead with the building of the transitional Secretariat at Velagapudi, 3 km away from Uddandarayunipalem where the permanent building would come up. This has kicked up another row. Many wondered why Rs180 crore was being spent on a temporary office complex till the government explained that the buildings would be subsequently used to house offices of heads of departments or given on lease to shopping malls.

On June 2, 2014, when Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh as India’s 29th State, the understanding was that Hyderabad would be the shared capital for 10 years. Sensing the opportunity to stamp his legacy, Mr. Naidu announced Amaravati to the world ten months after the State’s bifurcation. More than a year has elapsed since, and Rome was not built in a day. But try telling that to a man in a hurry.

Green hurdle

Meanwhile, the greenfield capital city plan has hit a green hurdle, with the Centre’s forest panel rejecting the proposal which lacks a suitable land-use plan and a compensatory afforestation scheme. Now, the state government has to fight a legal battle before it begins construction.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had sought forest clearance for diversion of 13,267.12 hectares of forest land in favour of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRD) for building the city, which is to come up at an initial cost of Rs 27,000 crore.

A revised proposal regarding the same, was submitted on April 25. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) — the highest body in the Union Environment Ministry that assesses proposals for diversion of forest lands — examined the Andhra Pradesh government’s revised proposal on July 12.

“In a recent meeting, the FAC examined the proposal. It heard the state government’s request to exempt the land-use plan, among others. After detailed deliberation, the FAC asked the state to submit the detailed land-use plan,” a senior Environment Ministry official said.

Reacting to this, Naidu said he was confident of clearing all hurdles, and the construction of the new capital would not be affected in any manner.

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