Donakonda Can be Ideal Capital of Residuary Andhra Pradesh
Published: 04th January 2014 08:12 AM |
It is a well known fact that all the Metropolises -- Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata -- have developed only as Capital cities of the Presidency Areas in British India. Earlier, there was no important town or city existed at these places. Finding them to be convenient points from the point of view of the location of ports, the then British government decided to develop the small villages into towns and over a period of two centuries all the three have developed as major metros. Similarly, any new capital city under planning should keep in mind creation of a town which may develop itself into a major city. The New Raipur concept is an interesting concept wherein a green field city is being developed to accommodate five lakh population in an area of 20,000 acres. The planners have acquired the land and have gone in for global tenders for development of the new city with all modern facilities including bus, rapid transport system and zonal regulations. There, the development is in terms of three layers, with all modern facilities in a systematic manner. A capital city to start with would require necessary accommodation and facilities for ministers, members of legislature, officers and staff who work in the Secretariat. It would be appropriate to decentralise some of the heads of departments as well as judicial capital so that there is no concentration of all the functions from one place. If that is done the land requirement would drastically come down. The existing staff strength of AP Secretariat is about 5,500 comprising of all cadres. For a separate state which consists of two thirds of the total Andhra Pradesh, approximately the requirement of staff will be 4,000 employees with an average family size of four members, the total employees and dependents for the secretariat itself will be 16,000. If some of the HoDs are also located there, another 10,000 could be the strength of pure employees and their family population taking it to approximately 25,000. To this if we add the possible staff associated with the Assembly, ministers and others the total can be around a maximum of 35,000. To this we can add the floating population of another 30,000- 40,000, so a maximum of 1 lakh could be the population with the new capital city once it starts functioning with a cushion for further expansion up to a population of five lakhs in the near future. Since 20,000 acres of land is planned to accommodate 5 Lakh population in Naya Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh, for an immediate 1 lakh population, 5,000 acres of unencumbered government land should be sufficient to green field exclusive capital city for the new state with a buffer government land of another 15,000 acres for future growth for other activities that may come up in due course. Viewed from this angle, Donakonda area of Prakasam district, where about 54,000 acres of government land is available in 20 km. radius is ideally suited. Donakonda also has an aerodrome built during the Second World War which can be made operational immediately. The area will have the following advantages: Donakonda falls on the Guntur - Bengaluru railway line. It is a single line at present. As part of the package with Central government, this can be expanded. This would ensure opening up of undeveloped interior areas of Rayalaseema and uplands of Coastal Andhra and connect the Coastal Andhra with the other growth centre of Bengaluru going through a major portion of Rayalaseema and uplands of central Coastal districts. Donakonda was part of Nellore district earlier and was at one end of the Nellore adjoining Markapur - Giddalur areas which have come from Kurnool district and then became part of Prakasam district. This area traditionally has links with Rayalaseema and most of the people here prefer to travel more to Kurnool for their needs rather than to Ongole. In that sense, ideally this would be centrally placed both from Rayalaseema as well as from Coastal Andhra and is centrally located. With the present new Land Acquisition Act, acquiring land for establishing a new capital city would be disastrous since any budget made available would only go for land acquisition. Ideally, one has to look for a place where there is huge extent of government land for taking up developmental activity and hence this area would be ideally suited for developing a new capital city with least expenditure. Another important consideration for establishing a capital city would be the availability of water. For Chennai, water was specifically allocated as part of the Krishna Award cutting into the allocations of all the three riparian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, an allocation of 10 tmc or as required can be made out of the Krishna waters for this new capital city and drawing that water would not be a problem since Darsi Branch Canal which flows near Donakonda can carry this water. Across the world also, it is not always the most populated and congested city, that is the capital of the country or the state. The unique example in this regard are the capitals established in the USA. The headquarters of New York is Albunny, a small city. Similarly, for California, it is not San Fransisco, but, Sacramento. The capital of Australia is at Canberra, just an administrative city. The financial and industrial headquarters are Sydney and Melbourne.