Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is leaving no stones unturned to arrange a mega rally on 22 October to highlight Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Amaravati, where the latter will lay the foundation stone for building the new state capital. Naidu himself is overseeing the preparations for the foundation day ceremony and he wants to accord Modi a reception that would surpass the euphoria seen at Madison Square or Silicon Valley, sources close to the CM told The Sunday Guardian.
Naidu held a Cabinet meeting on Thursday and told his ministerial colleagues that the foundation stone laying ceremony should be memorable to Modi, who will be addressing his first rally in the state after becoming PM. Modi had not been able to make it to Amravati when Naidu invited him for the ground-breaking ceremony (bhoomi puja) on 6 June.
Around one lakh people are being mobilised to attend the rally which will be held on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami or Dusshera. People from the 60 villages who have given their land for building the capital are being encouraged to join the ceremony. Naidu is planning to get certificates issued to the land donor farmers by teh PM. It is believed this has been planned to shatter the anti-farmer image that has come to haunt the National Democratic Alliance and its leaders.
So far, the government could pool in around 32,000 acres of land while another 2,000 acres remain to be pooled in. There has been some resistance to the measure in about eight villages. Besides, another 28,000 acres of government and forest lands would be allotted to the core capital city construction over 212 sq km.
The PM is expected to announce Central assistance for the development of AP’s capital. He has already released Rs 3,500 crore to the state. Naidu, however, may press for the grant of special status to AP, a request its ally Bharatiya Janata Party has not so far granted. The Telegu Desam Party led by Naidu has been campaigning for the same for a long time.
A dazzling sound and light show will be arranged at the event as the PM lays foundation stone at 12:45pm on that day. Global communication and entertainment firm, Mumbai headquartered Wizcraft has been awarded the contract for Rs 10.5 crore. “We have selected Wizcraft in view of their experience and expertise in the domain,” AP Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana told this newspaper.
The National Geographic channel has been commissioned to produce a couple of documentaries on the new capital city. Wizcraft will coordinate with the channel in producing the films, the minister said. The channel will track the growth of Amaravati over the years.
The minister added that Wizcraft has been asked to send invitations to all Union ministers, governors, Chief Ministers, judges of the Supreme Court and foreign diplomats, besides captains of industry and other celebrities for the event. “We are ready to fly two or three jets from Delhi and Mumbai, if necessary to bring the dignitaries to Amaravati,” said Narayana.
The Singapore government’s infrastructure development ministry has been entrusted with the task of developing the new capital in the next two years. Though there were proposals to involve China and Japan too in the capital development, Naidu preferred Singapore as it had done extensive work on the master-plan.
Naidu had personally gone to Tokyo to invite Japan PM Shinzo Abe and Singapore to invite PM Lee Hsien Loong for the 22 October event, but the premiers are unlikely to turn up. As the External Affairs Ministry hasn’t extended invitations to them on time, they couldn’t come, said a source.