City Square finds its way back onto  govt’s agenda

Cabinet to identify new developer; no word on Chinese firm which submitted the design

Published: 16th December 2016 01:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th December 2016 05:19 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The City Square, proposed to be built at the Swaraj Maidan, is back in the centre stage. The State Cabinet, which met here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday, decided to look for a developer to carry forward and implement the project, which was shelved months earlier following protests from locals.

Ghuizhou International Investment Corporation of China (GIIC) was earlier entrusted with the task of designing the City Square  and it was also identified as the project implementing agency. The Chinese company had submitted stunning designs and the cost estimate for the project was pegged at `135 crore.

However, the Swaraj Maidan or the PWD grounds as it was once called, is the only lung space available for the citizens in the commericial city and naturally, there were protests against the proposed project. The City Square is proposed to house a shopping complex, theme park, exhibition centre and an indoor stadium. It was proposed as part of the beautification of the city. In the wake of the protests, it was put on the back burner and GIIC too had said it did not receive any communication from the government regarding the project after it submitted the designs for the same.

Against this backdrop, the State Cabinet breathed new life into it and decided to identify a developer — which means the Chinese company may or may not be in the reckoning.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana said the Cabinet wanted a new developer to be identified for taking up the prestigious project which is expected to become a tourist attraction. To facilitate the GIIC to take up the project, the State government had earlier set up metal sheets, cordoning off the entire 27.5-acre PWD grounds.

It is where things stand now. The proposal was to clear existing structures in the vicinity, including the rythu bazar, irrigation offices, official bungalows and power utility office and quarters and a college building. The original estimate for developing the area into a City Square was `135 crore. Now that it is going to be handed over to a new developer, the estimate might be revised.

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