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Revival of capital dream a big challenge for Naidu

Unlike the controversies usually associated with the acquisition of lands in other parts of the country, the land acquisition for the construction of the new capital city was smooth and hassle-free.

News Arena Network - Amaravati - UPDATED: June 11, 2024, 04:37 AM - 4 mins read

Chandrababu Naidu during a public meeting.

Revival of capital dream a big challenge for Naidu

Chandrababu Naidu during a public meeting.


In his earlier stint from 2014 to 2019, Naidu envisaged Amaravati in the Vijaywada-Guntur region as the world-class capital city and initiated works in earnest. 

 

The project was close to Naidu’s heart, particularly since Andhra Pradesh lost Hyderabad to Telangana following the state’s division.

 

Unlike the controversies usually associated with the acquisition of lands in other parts of the country, the land acquisition for the construction of the new capital city was smooth and hassle-free.

 

Under the land pooling scheme, the farmers in nearly 30 villages voluntarily surrendered about 34,000 acres of land for the capital city project. In return, they were promised the developed residential land of 800 to 1,200 square yards each and 100 to 450 square yards of commercial land in the layouts developed by the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA).

 

With the aim to develop the new capital and to attract investments, the then TDP government had entered into an MoU with the Singapore government for support in areas like creating a master plan for the capital region and seed capital, among others.

 

As part of the MoU, three master plans— a prospective master plan for the capital region, and master plans for the capital city and seed capital, were submitted by Singapore-based company Surbana Jurong in record time.

 

A capital city master plan, prepared in 2016, had put the estimated cost of the project at Rs 50,000 crore. The plan was to develop a greenfield city on the south bank of the Krishna river.

 

Just before Naidu’s term ended in 2019, a CRDA note revealed that the total cost of phase-1 was Rs 51,687 crore. On the ground, Rs 39,875 crore of the Rs 51,687 crore construction works were in progress.

 

Three-capital plan

 

However, after storming to power in the 2019 elections, Jagan made it known that he was not in favour of Amaravati as the location for the new capital. Instead, his government proposed a ‘three-capital plan’ with the north coastal city of Visakhapatnam as the executive capital, Kurnool as the judicial capital and Amaravati as the legislative capital.

 

It virtually meant that Visakhapatnam would be the main capital for all practical purposes, while Kurnool and Amaravati would only have symbolic value.

 

Revival of a dream

 

The works on Amaravati project came to a grinding halt during Jagan’s tenure. Now, the big challenge before Naidu is to restart the works.

 

“In the last few years, the TDP and its allies have been saying that Amaravati will be the only capital city, and they went to the polls with the same slogan. While it may present challenges, a renewed focus can lead to success,” said senior journalist and author Ramesh Kandula.

 

With Naidu securing an unprecedented mandate, investor sentiment would also be restored. “Since TDP is a key member of the NDA, the Centre will not hesitate to release funds. Moreover, Amaravati is a self-funded project. For instance, APCRDA independently generated most of the funds through several means and ways. Amaravati does not require much government funding, but it certainly requires special attention,” Ramesh said.

 

As Nara Chandrababu Naidu prepares to take over the reins of Andhra Pradesh once again, the most important challenge before him is to revive his dream project of Amaravati capital city which was abandoned by his predecessor YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

 

Even a decade after bifurcation, the residuary AP still needs a capital city of its own. The state has been witnessing a bitter political struggle over the location of the capital.

 

As per the AP Reorganisation Act, the Centre shall provide financial support for the creation of essential facilities in the new capital. However, until now, the Centre has released only Rs 1,500 crore for the purpose. 

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