The hunt for a new capital for the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh hasn’t begun yet and if officials are to be believed, it may begin only after elections.
Officials of the sub-committee constituted to look into “new capital issues” interacted with the Union Home Ministry officials on Wednesday. “The Centre did not constitute any committee till date. As the officials are busy with election work, it may be constituted only after elections,” an officer dealing with ‘new capital issues’ told Express.
Union Minister Jairam Ramesh too said the new capital of Seemandhra would be announced in September. Speaking to reporters in Ongole, Jairam said, “Cities like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, Kurnool, Ongole and Nellore are being considered for a new capital. All locations will be studied and in September, final choice will be announced.”
The State-level panel will be coordinating with the Central panel whenever it is formed to zero in on the new capital which could either be Green or Brown. In official parlance, a Brown Capital is one that is developed in or around 5-10 km radius of an existing, developed city. Green Capital, however, is developed outside existing cities and requires at least 10,000-20,000 hectares.
Official sources, however, pointed out that whether it is brown or green, the issue will finally be a ‘political decision’ of the Centre. “Identifying the new capital is a political decision. The native of the first chief minister of the residuary State will also be important,” the sources said. Asked if a Green capital could be a daunting task, the officials replied in the negative. If it is a Brown capital, all existing and developed cities right from Srikakulam to Nellore are suitable.
But, road, rail and airport connectivity will be taken into consideration. Sources also recalled that in the new capital of Uttarakhand, the collector’s bungalow was used as the chief minister’s office and a polytechnic college as the Secretariat.
On the table are also proposals like a ‘concentrated capital’ and ‘distributed capital’. Concentrated capital means all offices would be located in one area. Distributed capital means all important offices could be in different cities.
The Group of Ministers on Telangana had received six proposals on the new capital. Among the Brown locations proposed are Amaravathi in Guntur district, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.
If the Centre decides to go for a Green Capital, there are three proposals: Donakonda, Nagarjuna Sagar and Nuzvid. If Donakonda in Prakasam district is considered, the surrounding settlements like Yerrabalem, Gangadona Konda, Vabbapuram, West Gangavaram, Abbya Palem, etc can be included in the new capital. There was an airstrip in Donakonda developed by Britishers. However, Donakonda has no proper rail or road connectivity and moreover, it has acute water shortage.
Nagarjuna Sagar is centrally located for Seemandhra.
The surrounding settlements like Macharla, Kothapalle, Chinthala Thanda, Rayavaram, Rachamallipadu and Kambhampadu can be included. An abandoned runway of the old airport is still in a good condition. The place has proper road connectivity and drinking water is available. This can be considered for the capital, as per the initial assessment of the officials.
Another proposal is to locate the new capital between Nuzvid and Hanuman Junction in Krishna district. Here, forest and government lands are available. The surrounding settlements like Nuzividu, Kothapalli, Billanapalli, Vempadu, Kokkirapadu, Pallerlamudi, Seetharamapuram, etc can be included in the new capital project. The existing Gannvaram airport is just 20-30 km from the proposed location.