Chief Minister Sri N Chandrababu Naidu and his delegation from Andhra Pradesh are busy touring Kazakhstan and Russia in search of newer collaborations and avenues. The most striking part of the tour so far is CM’s unbound admiration for the city of Astana, which bears uncanny resemblances with the proposed capital city of Amaravati.
The delegation received a festive welcome at Kazakhstan as he got to wear the traditional attire of the country. CM held the 1st meeting with the Defence Minister of Kazakhstan Mr. Imangali N. Tasmagambetov where both discussed at length on the difficulties faced while building a new capital city.
Speaking to the CM, The Defence Minister said that he greatly admires India and its culture. Furthermore, he spoke at length and elaborated on the difficulties they faced while building the new capital.
“When we became independent we didn’t have money to pay salaries. Our doctors and employees worked free for one year” he said.
The Defence Minister mentioned that many people wondered why they needed a new capital with so many problems on hand. “But since Almaty was in the corner we decided to shift to the new capital Astana. Ours is a 9th largest country in the world with an area of 2.72 million sq kilometers,” he said.
He said he was doubtful if they could build a new capital as it would cost enormous amounts of money. Astana recently celebrated its 18th anniversary.
He remarked that though 99 % of the people were doubtful our president was confident and had faith that we could do it. Later, the Defence Minister recalled how the city of Astana was built.
He said that they had to float a global tender and pool investments from government, foreign companies, and private companies as well for formulating a city design.
Mentioning that most of the investments were made in infrastructure, the Defence Minister said that the amenities such as power, sewage, engineering and all other infrastructures were underground. Defence Minister said that if planning is done well it is easy to build a new city.
“There’s a lot of money is available in the world. But the investors need confidence that their money will be safe. Laws and regulations should be clear,” he said.
Pointing out that ensuring confidence to investors is the key to building a new capital he said that Andhra Pradesh will be highly successful in bringing investors and the new capital can be built at a cost $ 20 billion.
Stressing that good transport is the key to build a new city he said that that good public transport system should be put in place.
Observing the similarities Astana and Andhra Pradesh share, the Chief Minister said that just like Kazakhstan came out of Soviet Russia, Andhra Pradesh too is a bifurcated state, in the process of building a new capital city.
“Though Astana had many difficulties earlier, now the situation has changed. The whole world is talking about you. Our Prime Minister strongly recommended that I see your capital,” the Chief Minister said.
Later, he mentioned that he held the Chief Minister’s post for 9 years and also played a role of an opposition leader for 10 years.
Mentioning that he was instrumental in building a new city called Cyberabad 10 years back he said that again we have an opportunity to build a new capital city called Amaravati.
“Our farmers in AP were generous. They came forward to give land for free under the land pooling system. I am grateful to those farmers who came forward responding to my call,” the Chief Minister said.
In reply to this, the Defence Minister suggested to the Chief Minister to hold a conference with all the architects from Singapore, Dubai, Japan and take advantage of their experience.
“I suggest you make several city centers. Not just one”, said the Defence Minister.
The Defence Minister informed the CM that it took ten years to build Astana which happened 15 years ago. Now that technology is well advanced Amaravati can be built in five to seven years from now he said.
Following the results of the meeting, the Chief Minister suggested the Defence Minister to make a visit to Andhra Pradesh and advise us in realizing the dream to build a futuristic state.
“We don’t want to commit any mistakes. We want to learn from you and avoid any mistakes that you made,” said the Chief Minister to the Defence Minister.
Following this, the CM visited the Kok-Tobe hill which is the highest point in the city of Almaty. The CM and the delegation traveled by the cable car to the top of the hill which is the biggest entertainment zone and a tourist hub.
CM showed interest in emulating the model in mountain ranges of AP to develop them as tourist spots.