There is a lot of excitement in Andhra Pradesh after Amaravati was announced as its new capital.
The challenge ahead is huge and it could take at least a decade before Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to make a Singapore like city which he has been promising. [Andhra Pradesh govt approves Amaravati as new capital]
While there are many advantages attached to having Amaravati as the capital, there is, however, one aspect that the state administration would have to bear in mind.
Amaravati is in the downstream of River Krishna and if precautions are not taken then in case of a calamity the city could be very badly hit.
Land pooling is another issue that the state administration is battling. Naidu has, however, urged the farmers not to believe what the opposition is saying and has assured that they would become richer. [Andhra vehicles to pay tax on entering Telangana from April 1]
However, barring these two issues, many from Andhra Pradesh say that this was the best choice for the capital and the historic relevance that this city has only adds to the charm.
Located in the north of Guntur city, the city is famous for the Amareswara temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The history of Amaravati dates back to the 2nd century BCE and it was once the capital of the Satavahanas and also the Pallava kings.
Amaravati is also an important place for Buddhism. The Buddhist stupa was built by Ashoka in 200 BCE.
The original choice around an year back for the capital of Andhra Pradesh was Mangalagiri.
However, after a detailed analysis it was found that the land price in Mangalagiri was way too high and hence Amaravati was zeroed down on.
When the first choice of Mangalagiri was being considered the AP government found that it would cost at least Rs 15 crore to acquire one acre of land.
This was way beyond the budget and hence they decided that Amaravati located 35 kilometres away from Guntur was the better choice.
Moreover, the government had 10,929 acres of land in Amaravati mandal, 6,000 acres in Tadikonda and 16,000 acres in Achampet.
While this provided a start, the government also found it would be cheaper for it to acquire land especially in the Tadikonda mandal since the price was anything between Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh an acre.
Land pooling was a concern:
When Chandrababu Naidu had first proposed land pooling in a bid to build the new capital it was faced with criticism especially by the opposition.
It was being dubbed as an exercise to grab land from the poor farmers.
However, Naidu himself said that this was a wrong message being conveyed by the opposition.
He said that the entire process of land pooling has been completed.
"Within a short time, have managed to convince local land owners to take part in the development process," said Naidu.
"The entire process of land pooling, which involves taking the land, parting with 25 per cent of developed land to the farmer who gives away land, has made the farmers happy and understand the benefit," Naidu also said.
Joy in Amaravati:
Subba Reddy a resident of Amaravati says that in a long time this is the best news he has heard.
"We were overjoyed when we heard the news. This is the best decision taken by our CM," he told Oneindia.
"We were aware that Amaravati would be chosen, but were awaiting an official confirmation. Now that it is official we have even more reason to celebrate," Reddy also said.
He also added that the heritage status of the city would be maintained and there is nothing better than this.
The state has excluded Amaravati from the Land Pooling Scheme only to ensure that maintains its heritage status.
One may recall that Union urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu had included Amaravati in the heritage cities' list for development with central funds and had also granted Rs 25 crore.