Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Amaravati - Should it be a world a class city?


Undivided Andhra Pradesh, a prosperous state, was senselessly & forcibly bifurcated in 2014 by Congress for hidden political reasons, with capital city Hyderabad, state's assets, revenue & employment potential and budget surplus was given to Telangana State and residuary AP without capital, meager revenues, almost nil employment opportunities and budget deficit of  Rs.16,000 crores in the first year was left out. The Act contained only promises without any dependable help from center. However, with strong agriculture base & entrepreneurial aptitude and hardworking nature of people, AP produces more and consumes less and growth is natural & inevitable.

Chandrababu Naidu planning and proceeding with new Capital adjacent to vibrant city Vijayawada was a right step. But his vision to construct a world class capital is unnecessary for a deficit state with many more higher priorities. All we need is good capital with infrastructure for effective governance and growth. Large capital region with master plan is an excellent idea and growth should be in accordance with plan for promoting employment, non-polluting and revenue earning activities.

State Govt can obtain money in only three ways ... (1) Taxes (2) Borrowings and (3) Central Grants. Any other way is wrong, unethical and unconstitutional.

Chandrababu Naidu acquiring land in the name of "Land Pooling" for Capital Amaravati is in fact state doing real estate business is unethical & wrong. The right method is to identify land and acquire it, in 5 phases of 5,000 acres each, and pay compensation as per statutes. For the capital all that is needed is to construct Raj Bhawan, Assembly & Council, High Court, Secretariat , Offices & Quarters and some more land for public utility purpose like Convention Center, Guest Houses etc and for institutions to come up later. All put together, 10,000 acres would be sufficient but 25,000 acres would be splendid. We don't need to build iconic structures with Singapore help. We can have decent, economic, efficient buildings. Iconic buildings should be limited to Raj Bhawan, Assembly & Council, High Court, Secretariat and 5* Hotels only. No wastage of money through extravaganza. In India, we have enough expertise to undertake this activity. Thinking of competing with Hyderabad, Bangalore & Chennai is futile. In fact we should fall back on these cities. For building capital Amaravati we could obtain financial help from Center, borrow at low interest & long term loans from HUDCO and World Bank.

Vijayawada & Visakhapatnam should have direct daily flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai & Muscat with onward connections to the world and domestic daily flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore & Hyderabad to begin with, so that nation and the world is connected and that boosts trade, businesses, IT & tourism. IT should be developed in about 2,000 acres and attract small companies, mainly from NRI's from AP to begin with.  Film City is another option.

We should never forget Government's first duty is safety & security of citizens, efficient administration and development as a continuous process. Businesses through PSU's in critical areas only.

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