KURNOOL / CHITTOOR / ANANTAPUR / TIRUPATI / KADAPA: The Sivaramakrishnan Committee also proposed a Rayalaseema Arc stretching from Kurnool to Chittoor via Anantapur and Tirupati and including Kadapa, which is a major transport hub for railways as well. The principal towns in the arc such as Kurnool and Anantapur have been in existence for a long time. In fact, Kurnool was the capital of Andhra when the state was initially formed by separating it from Tamil Nadu. Eventually, the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. There is a strong feeling in Kurnool-Anantapur that its claims to be the seat for capital were surrendered in favour of Hyderabad. The Rayalaseema people feel this has been a serious historical mistake which should be addressed. Though the area has had problems of water scarcity and power supply, there is a strong feeling in both Kurnool and Anantapur that these problems have been allowed to get worse and are used as an argument to discourage development. As mentioned before, if Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi can access water from distant sources there is no insurmountable reason for Kurnool and Anantapur not to do so.
The Committee would like to draw attention to the prominent reality of the Hyderabad-Kurnool-Anantapur-Bangalore highway which is part of the golden quadrilateral system. In the development plans for south India, the Kurnool-Bangalore, Anantapur- Chennai via Chittoor link and Chennai-Bangalore highway constitute an extremely important frame for future development. In the near future it can be expected that there will be a Mumbai-Bangalore corridor which can also be connected to Anantapur via Lepakshi or other possible routes. The Rayalaseema Arc can be expected to emerge as a major component of this network of high capacity transport corridor in the south.
This will emerge as an important zone of development. In the list of important works considered as part of the 2014-15 budget presented by the Railway Minister recently, the Nadikudi-Kalahasti railway line has been mentioned. Starting from Srikalahasti and proceeding for a distance of more than 300 km, this particular line will intersect Vinukonda on the Bangalore-Guntur rail line and eventually terminate at Nadikudi near Andhra-Telangana border. From this north-south spine, east-west connections have been proposed such as to Krishnapatnam, Duggirajapatnam etc. which are important proposed port facilities. Vinukonda in Guntur District will be an important railway junction and a potential growth point.The use of the Kalahasti spine as a substitute for the Vizag-Chennai Industrial corridor is particularly critical. This is because of the significant environmental problems encountered in the Vizag-Chennai highway hugging the coast which passes through an area with numerous environmental hazards such as cyclone, tidal surges, wet lands etc and is also susceptible to various frequent cyclones.
The coast is unlikely to support a high capacity transport or industrial corridor as envisaged from Vizag to Chennai. The Committee’s discussions with the Department of Industrial Promotion in the government of India indicates that the Asian Development Bank which is preparing the feasibility report for the Vizag-Chennai corridor is taking note of these environmental concerns within this corridor.
It will serve as a significant boost to the development of Chittoor, Nellore, Kadapa and Prakasam joining many of the existing small towns along the proposed Kalahasti spine fall within the industrial corridor. The Kalahasti spine will serve both its own alignment as well as the southern coastal area of Andhra Pradesh.
It is clarified that along this spine there lies potential for greenfield development of nodal cities. This potential, however, must be explored (as in the case of the VGTM area) without disturbing the existing rich agricultural lands.