With all eyes on the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, speculation is rife among its citizens as well as investors looking for investing in the Sunrise State about how the Capital City will turn out to be in shape, size and appearance.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh has an advantage over other states in India because it has begun from scratch. If the state government’s policies are anything to go by, they highlight the dire need to provide basic amenities to its citizen and simultaneously work on developing them into smart cities/towns.
Here Are Nine Main Reasons Why Amaravati Is Set To Become The Future Model City Of India
Taking the first step towards planning a capital city, the state government chose a central location as a capital city and named it after the historical town of Amaravati. Another major decision was to opt for land pooling instead of land acquisition.
1. Land pooling Better Than Land Acquisition
The Government of Andhra Pradesh’s Land Pooling System (LPS) to procure land for the capital has proved to win people’s support to build the capital. Mr. Naidu convinced land owners and procured 33,0000 acres of farmland through the LPS. This was even appreciated by Swaminathan Ankleshwar Aiyar, in an article where he mentioned AP Chief Minister made all land owners “stakeholders in the new capital.”
The Chief Minister’s proposal to hand over developed plots in addition to giving certain amount on land every year for the next 10 years to those who have given land for capital is an example of how governments can find ways to work with people if they choose to.
Not only is this a win-win situation for the government, but also an opportunity for land owners to enroll in skill development programs and own plots which will be worth a few crores when the city develops.
In his article, Mr. Aiyar writes: “The key to success is that the (land pooling) scheme is voluntary, and makes farmers stakeholders in development.”
“This is not just good politics, or a clever way to facilitate economic development. It is also ethical development,” he says.
2. Power-surplus State & Smart Grids
A story in the Business Week recently highlighted the need to first ensure that Indian cities have smart grids (without power cuts) before aiming to become smart cities. This was proved by the government of AP which turned it from being a power-deficit state (with 22 Million Units deficit) to a power-surplus one within 100 days of government. It has also achieved a zero power-cuts milestone.
Currently, Andhra Pradesh’s AT&C losses stand at 10.6%, one of the states with lowest AT&C losses, and aims to bring this to 6% within the next two years, on par with international standards. The AT&C losses of Japan stand at 4.62% while Canada has 5.45%, China with 5.72% and the US at 6%.
Further, the government is working with Japan’s Fuji Electric on setting up a Smart Grid in Vijayawada on pilot basis.
The smart grid monitors the consumption of energy through smart meters and forecasts the demand for the next 24 hours to make energy management efficient. The smart grid allows one to share energy with other grids if the demand is less from one grid and more from the others.
As part of this understanding between Government of AP and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), sensors will be installed on buildings which will forecast energy requirement and give insights into energy consumption patterns. The government has asked the company to study the feasibility of introducing remote-controlled power stations.
3. Focus On Renewable Energy
Laying emphasis on sustainability, renewable energy too occupies a place in AP’s policy agenda. The government has brought out Solar Power Policy – 2015, giving a fillip to massive production of solar power in the state.
Recently, the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy has sanctioned a 1,500-MW ultra mega solar power park for development in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. Two other parks of 1,000 MW each are being executed by NTPC at Anantapur and Kurnool districts, respectively.
Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Japan’s SoftBank Corp has evinced interest in making Andhra Pradesh a model state for the country in solar plus wind hybrid projects in the country.
“These projects will not only boost the economy but also provide employment to people,” Mr. Son said to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, during his visit to Hyderabad in June this year.
4. Waste Management On Agenda
Urbanization and development breeds waste. And, this has been an area which has often been neglected by state governments in India.
As an administrator with a holistic focus, Mr. Naidu has understood the need to focus on waste management to make the state smart, clean and green.
In this direction, the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and the Swachh Andhra Corporation (SAC) have signed an agreement to jointly develop a framework for an integrated solid waste management master plan for Andhra Pradesh.
5. Advantage Of Being A Virgin City
The Central Government has announced AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) by choosing certain cities/towns from states and including them under this “Smart Cities” scheme.
Despite the AMRUT mission creating a healthy competition among states vying to include their cities under the scheme, Amaravati has an advantage as it is a virgin city.
In all the cities that have been included under AMRUT, there is certain basic infrastructure and social culture according to the master plans of the respective cities. But, that is not the case with Amaravati.
From preparing Master Plans of the Capital City to predicting the urban sprawl, every single element is being planned meticulously to make it a modern as well as model riverfront capital city in the world.
6. A Vibrant Economy
Besides being the seat of power, Amaravati will be a commercial hub for existing regional industries such as agri-businesses and logistics, and catalyse new ones such as Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) and pharmaceuticals.
The plan has designated a Central Business District, commercial zones in town centers, as well as industrial parks. In addition, it supports job creation in residential neighborhoods so that people can work near their homes.
To ensure a quality living environment, the plan has laid out infrastructure for delivering reliable supplies of electricity and, water while managing solid waste and sewerage, thereby ensuring a quality living environment.
7. Enhanced connectivity and Active Mobility
The Amaravati region has good road and rail links to all parts of the state.
The master plan will enhance the connectivity of the capital with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that can eventually be upgraded to Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. While designed with an efficient road network, the Amaravati master plan will also promote the use of public transport and minimize the need for long commutes.
Amaravati residents will also have non-motorized transport choices using an extensive network of walkways, cycle tracks and local waterways. This approach promotes active mobility within the city while protecting its environment through reductions in carbon emissions and other pollutants
8. Ensuring Sustainability
Recognizing the unique value of Amaravati’s location beside the Krishna River, the master plan preserves much of the existing greenery and waterways, while introducing new parks, gardens and recreational facilities such as a cricket stadium.
Amaravati will possess a distinctive river front with lush open spaces for its citizens to enjoy. Innovative approaches are envisaged to turn the reservoirs, storm water detention ponds and canals into locales for public enjoyment even as they perform the critical functions of storing water and controlling flooding.
9. The People’s Capital
Amaravati will be built on land pooled from the contributions of the villagers in the region. In return, they will receive plots of commercial and residential land in the city and share in the fruits of development for years to come.
Consistent with its Chief Minister’s vision of a People’s Capital, the master plan also provides for affordable housing, easy access to amenities such as schools, healthcare services, markets, and shopping malls, libraries and a university.
The master plan respects the sense of local identity and enhances appreciation for local heritage. It protects the existing religious and heritage sites and connects them to the network of MRT / BRT and roads to form tourism circuits.
Combining all these factors, the dream of making Amaravati the best capital in India looks plausible if the citizens of AP support the construction of a capital and the government sticks to its plans without getting disillusioned in the process.