Andhra has spectacular plans for future capital, but doubts linger

  • Prasad Nichenametla, Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
  • Updated: Jul 19, 2015 22:16 IST
A representative photo of Andhra Pradesh's "world class" capital Amaravati presents a spectacular first look. Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu wants the first phase of building to be completed by 2019. (Photo provided by AP government)

Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu wants the first phase of building Andhra Pradesh’s new capital to be completed by 2019 though several aspects of the gigantic project, including its funding and execution, are yet to be finalised.

A team from Singapore led by S Iswaran, a senior minister for trade and industry, will submit the core area plan for Amaravati to Naidu on Monday. The chief minister has partnered with the Singapore government for constructing the “world class” capital near Vijayawada in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The state needs to build a capital of its own as Hyderabad, currently the shared capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, will be given to the latter in 2024. Hyderabad was the main bone of contention during the creation of Telangana, and Naidu, who often claims credit for rebuilding the “Pearl City” into a hi-tech hub, is particularly chagrined at the loss.

(Computer-generated pic provided by Andhra govt)

The blueprint images of the core or seed capital, released by the chief minister’s office, appear to match Naidu's ambition of building one of the best capitals in the world. The overall master plan prepared by Singapore for Amaravati was handed over to Naidu by Iswaran in May.

The core capital will consist of important government buildings such as the Raj Bhavan, secretariat and assembly and financial support for these structures has to come from the Union government as specified in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. Till now, the Central government has allocated Rs 1500 crore.

However, finer details of the project, like the sharing of cost-benefit between Andhra Pradesh and Singapore are yet to be made clear. The firms that will participate in executing the project are yet to be chosen though sources said global tenders will be floated for this purpose.

Naidu has put his faith in the Singapore government for several aspects of the colossal project, like the proposed capital’s financial district.

The chief minister wants the first phase of the flagship project to be completed by 2019, in time for the next elections in the state. Andhra Pradesh has acquired about 30,000 acres of farm land along the Krishna river in Guntur district for the capital but resistance continues in some pockets of the proposed area.

The plan for the capital will be handed over by Iswaran to Naidu in Rajahmundry, where the chief minister has stationed himself to monitor the Godavari Pushkaralu.

(Computer-generated pic provided by Andhra govt)

Naidu wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the chief guest for the inauguration of the work, planned to commence on October 22 or Vijayadasami.

The area where the capital is to come up is of great historical significance. Amaravati, a village near the proposed location on the banks of the Krishna river, is a pilgrimage centre with the famous Amareswara Swamy temple – one of the Pancharama kshetras according to Shaivite traditions.

The area, with its ancient stupas and viharas, is also popular with Buddhists.

The first mighty empire in the Andhra region – of the Satavahanas – was centred here from 200 BC to 300 AD and was known as Dhanyakataka (the present Dharanikota).

It was a major centre through the millennia under the Kakatiya and Vijayanagara empires, and was also part of the Madras Presidency under the British Raj.

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