In a bid to involve people across Andhra Pradesh in construction of its capital, Amaravati, the Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government has decided to collect 1 kg soil from each of the 16,000 odd villages in the state for the foundation stone laying ceremony on 22 October. Besides, each village has been asked to contribute one litre of water for the construction of the capital.
The around 16 tonnes of soil and 16,000 litres of water will be used for the construction of a pylon where the foundation stone near UR Puram village, in Guntur district, will be laid. Plans are underway to etch the names of all the 16,000 villages on a stone plaque that would be fixed at the pylon. A globally reputed architectural agency is busy designing the pylon, sources said.
Hectic activity has been going on in Vijayawada and Guntur as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the foundation stone laying ceremony is approaching. Hundreds of other VVIPs including foreign diplomats, Union ministers, Governors, Chief Ministers, high court judges and businessmen are expected to turn up for the event.
“We are hard-pressed for time as many arrangements are to be made for this historic occasion. This could be the biggest greenfield capital city in the world,” Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana told The Sunday Guardian on Thursday. He, along with senior officials visited the site where the Prime Minister would address a rally on 22 October.
Narayana explained that the decision to collect the soil and the water, under the slogan “mana vuru, mana rajadhani (our village, our capital)” was aimed at bringing fostering togetherness. “This way, we request all people to lend their hand in the construction of the capital city, which will be memorable to them forever,” he said.
Similarly, farmers from 50 villages, who offered around 32,000 acres of land for the capital city, will be felicitated at the function — some even by the Prime Minister. A shawl and a certificate will be given to the farmers.
Officers of CRDA (Capital Region Development Authority) of Amaravati are scouting for places to set up 16 helipads for those who will come for the function. They are expecting around 10 aircraft and a dozen helicopters on the day. Vijayawada’s Gannavaram airport is too small to accommodate this traffic.
Round-the-clock work is going on to widen the narrow roads in Tullur mandal, which will be a part of the core capital region. Agricultural lands are being cleared for the public rally venue. “Food stalls and parking lots will take up a large area so we are searching for suitable places,” said Agriculture Minister P. Pulla Rao.
All big hotels and resorts in Vijayawada and Guntur are packed to the capacity as Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, his ministers and senior functionaries including state government adviser Parakala Prabhakar are camping here until 22 October. The problem is that Vijayawada with a population of around 12 lakh and Guntur with eight lakh, do not have many hotels to meet the demand.
“This is a logistics problem. There are no five star hotels in Vijayawada and Guntur and as a result, all foreign guests will have to return to Hyderabad, which is 268 km away, by evening. The five star hotels in the area will take two-three years to come up. Until then, we are using rented premises to accommodate officials and guests,” Rao said. Another irritant to the AP government is the ongoing fast-unto-death by Opposition leader Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in Guntur, seeking special status for the state. Sources in the government said the police is unlikely to allow him to fast beyond this weekend.