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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Business

Seemandhra can build a virtual capital
N Madhavan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 05, 2013
First Published: 01:07 IST(5/8/2013)
Last Updated: 01:13 IST(5/8/2013)

Last week’s momentous decision by the UPA to carve out Telangana as a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh has set in motion new thoughts on the future of Hyderabad, which will now come under the new state.

And the Seemandhra region comprising mainly of the coastal zones will have a new capital after 10 years, giving it sufficient elbow room.

Now, I was wondering if Seemandhra should mourn the loss of Hyderabad — a technopolis which hosts the Indian opeartions for giants like Microsoft, GE and HSBC. I should think not.

The coastal zone now has the golden opportunity to build a futuristic capital — and if the current flow of technology is any indication, it can be practically a virtual one.

Picture this: most of current state capitals have a Vidhan Sabha (state assembly) and Raj Bhavan (governor’s house) surrounded by state government departments. This format usually also triggers a real estate bubble in the region, with land barons and speculators having a field day.

Now, consider an alternative scenario: A high-speed metro railway network links somewhat widely distributed government  buildings, connected by a rich optic fibre network and 4G telecoms. The files are in electronic format, with digital signatures the norm.

Meetings are held in 3D videoconferencing facilities through large walls, and citizens talk through social media interface. Physical meetings are rare and minimum.

The truth is: all these technologies already exist and by the time the new capital comes up, 5G telecoms may be here with faster, better and cheaper connectivity.

Reliance Industries Ltd, a new, ambitious 4G player, also has high stakes in natural gas off coastal Andhra. If only telecom players led by RIL form a blueprint for a futuristic capital, it can take Seemandhra to unimagined heights.


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