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Create a unique city for capital of AP

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Create A Unique City For Capital of Andhra Pradesh, Kurnool as The Capital, Rayalaseema Leaders. The latest reports reiterate that the leaders are...

The latest reports reiterate that the leaders are squabbling over the location of a capital city for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy, T G Vetnkatesh and other Rayalaseema leaders demand making of Kurnool as the capital in the backdrop of Sri Baugh Agreement as the present demerger is nothing but resuming pre-1956 status of the state.
Every one wishes to have the capital in his region as the asset values would increase manifold. There is no dearth of influential leaders to pressurise centre for this purpose from any region. But it is hazardous if the decision on capital city is taken in haste yielding to the pressures of the leaders of any one of the two regions - Coastal Andhra or Rayalaseema.
In the interest of the new State to be formed, the modern western method of selection of a virgin area easily accessible to both the regions and psychologically satisfactory should be selected to build as a new capital. Prime factor that should be taken into consideration is to make the capital exclusively political, limiting it to the buildings of Assembly, Secretariat, other State offices, residential complexes and other amenities for the public representatives and employees, perfect metro rail-road coordinated public transportation system with opening up of the establishment of required services sector to the private entities with centralised regulation.
A centralised planning in a telescopic perspective is of ominous requirement keeping open the chances of development of any sort of addition on its own to the needs conforming to the master plan of the city. London’s unique city planning system may be taken as an example by adding the modern requirements and technologies.
The best suitable place for such a political capital would be the region adjoining Markapurm, Cumbum in Prakasham district or Macharla area in Guntur. The main reason to support this region is the psychological satisfaction that it ensures to the people of both Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema people.
This region was originally in Rayalaseema as the Markapuram and Cumbum talukas were taken from Kurnool district and made part of Prakasham district during its formation in 1972. But now they are in Coastal Andhra. With the region’s geographical contiguity and historico-cultural affinity to both the regions, it certainly satisfies the people of both the regions.
It is easily accessible to all parts of the proposed State with limited distance. The area is in a distance of maximum 700 kilometres from Ichchapuram, the northern-most point of the proposed State and hardly 400 kilometres from the western-most point in Ananthapur district. It is hardly in a radius of 100-odd kilometres from several important cities and towns like Vijayawada, Ongole, Nellore, Kurnool, Tirupati, Kadapa etc. It is only 500 kilometres from Visakhapatnam, another biggest city.
It will have easy access to other state capitals of Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad (future capital of Telangana state).
As far as connectivity is concerned, the region is on the State Highway and not more than 100 kilometres away from the Calcutta-Chennai National Highway. It should be developed on par with the National Highway connecting a few more important centres of the State.
It is also well-connected on railway line also with both Markapuran and Cumbum falling on the way of Vijayawada to Bengaluru connecting many important railway stations. The only requirement is to get assurances from the Centre to develop the railway line with additional trains connecting the newly developing capital. At this point of time when Telangana’s wishes are all being fulfilled, there will not be any objection for any of the reasonable proposals if properly represented to the Central Government.
However, a new international airport should be built to suit a state capital. It does not mean that the region has not any drawbacks. Hot climate would be a problem. It can be easily solved with extensive growth of vegetation, creating number of small ponds at scientifically suitable distances and establishing a number of parks with good vegetation.
The nearby forest can accommodate pleasant weather in case the planning of the city is made keeping this in view. Availability of water may be another problem here. There is a readymade solution for this. Cumbum Lake is a very big man-made lake with seven kilometres of length and 3.5 kilometres of width. If a hundred kilometre canal can be constructed from Srisailam project through the Rayalaseema districts, it could be used for making some Rayalaseema areas fertile as well as keeping the Cumbum Lake always full. A link of it to the lake at Markapuram will serve the purpose of maintaining the climate and increasing the level of underground water.
Enough scope should be left over to other cities also to develop in different sectors such as Vijayawada for automobiles, industrial, transport and other business activities, Visakhapatnam for international trade, Information Technology, pharmaceutical, health, film industry, etc., Krishnapatanam, Nizampatnam, Machilipatnam etc., as foreign trade zones making small towns like Palasa (Cashew), Kakinada and Tadepalliguden (Rice& Poultry), Gudur (Mica), Hindupur (Silk) etc., as specific product-oriented internal trade centres and a number of historical, holy and nature spots as tourist places. Likewise the alluvial coastal plains should be reserved for agricultural production and the forest zone for ecological balance only without turning them out into something else. This sort of horizontal spread will boost regional balanced development without differences.
Creation of such a state-of-the-art capital and planned development model would be exemplary not only to the country but also to the world itself in a utopian model. Achievement of this end depends on our political leaders of all parties by putting pressure on the Central Government. People of Seemandhra now in a despair mood must force their leaders to at least do this ‘not-so-difficult task’. The Seemandhra leaders failed in all spheres till now. But at least this lone achievement could give them a facelift. And this is the right time to get the things done as the Centre is in a dilemma over capital issue. Strike only when the iron is hot.
(The author is a research degree holder in South Asian Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and now Director of Wonworld Educational Institutions at Visakhapatnam.)

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