India’s move to build smart cities got a major push when Prime Minister, Narendra Modi recently laid the foundation stone of Amravati, Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s dream capital. Amaravati, the capital of the truncated Andhra Pradesh, is planned to be developed as a "futuristic" world-class city with expertise from Japan and Singapore, and the cost of building it could be in excess of $2 billion. The land acquisition model that the state used for acquiring nearly 32,000 acres for the capital has been lauded by many and the Centre. An area covering 30 villages between Vijayawada and Guntur, some 35 km away from Amaravati town. For, this is the only place where the Krishna flows north instead of east or south which is considered to be auspicious by many.
The Seed Capital development Area will cover 16.7 sq km and comprise the AP Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, High Court, Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, quarters for the ministers and officials, and the township for government officials. Work on this is already started. Expected to be completed by 2018-19, the Seed Capital Area (SCA) will be home to about 3 lakh residents. The business hub is expected to generate about 7 lakh jobs in various sectors, including government. There will be a thriving, state of the art, Central Business District (CBD) for business and living. The master plan envisages nodes and corridors for a transit-oriented development approach. So, there will be an integrated network of 12km of Metro railways, 15km of Bus Rapid Transit systems, 7km of downtown roads, 26km of arterial and sub-arterial roads and 53km of collector roads. A regional expressway and an outer regional expressway will connect various towns to the core capital region. A dedicated freight corridor will connect with highways leading to New Delhi via Hyderabad. National Waterway 4 proposed to be developed on Wazirabad-Vijayawada-Vodarevu Port and Wazirabad-Vijayawada-Rajahmundry-Kakinada routes connecting other places via rivulets and canals. An airport planned at Mangalagiri, and five corridors will have high-speed railways.
AP Govt’s innovative crowd-funding initiative
In the past 10 days, since the launch of ‘My Brick, My Amaravati, a crowd-funding initiative, over 34 lakh digital bricks have been sold online. When one buys a digital brick for ₹10, one’s name is engraved on it and it is kept in a repository for ever. And the donor gets a certificate of commendation from Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, which reads: “Every brick matters and every effort is valued. Your gesture will go a long way in realizing Amaravati as a true people’s capital.” The idea of the government, as explained in the portal www.amaravati.gov.in, is not only to ensure people’s participation but also get donations. A special window for international donations will also be opened shortly. The total number of donors who bought the 34.40 lakh bricks as of Monday evening stood at 52,764, raising ₹3.40 crore so far. The state government estimates that it will need at least ₹1 lakh crore to construct the new capital. Efforts are also on to approach The Guinness Books of World Records to enter this initiative as the first crowd-funding programme using the concept of digital bricks.
Irrespective of all what’s going on in our country right now, be it bans or secularism issues, one good thing that is emerging is the constant effort of the government to boost economic and infrastructural development in the country. Now it’s the time for us all to get over these social taboos and beliefs and join together as Indians to take our country to a new level altogether since efforts like building Smart Cities and Digitalizing India, are steps forward in the same direction.
INBM, July 2015