HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh government's decision to name its capital city as Amaravathi has turned the spotlight on the ancient town, bringing in a wave of nostalgia and hope post-bifurcation of the undivided state last year.
The move will also rekindle unity among Andhras, feel observers.
Amaravathi, which means the town that lives forever, was the seat of power of Satavahana rulers and the name has been chosen in view of its historical, spiritual and mythological significance, says Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
A meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by him last week, passed a resolution in this regard.
Highlighting the glorious past of Amaravathi, Advisor (Communications) to Andhra Pradesh government Parakala Prabhakar said the government would like to build a futuristic city.
"With the capital being named Amaravathi, we look back at our glorious past and move ahead. Post-bifurcation, this holds out hope for the future and promotion of unity among Andhras," he told PTI.
Tracing the history of Amaravathi, M Somasekhara Rao, a retired history lecturer at Hindu College in Guntur, said, "It is highly appropriate to name the new capital as Amaravathi in view of its significance. It is a good decision. It will rekindle the unity of Andhras," he said, adding that the name of the city may strike a chord in the South East Asian countries where Buddhism is prevalent.
The state government has "pooled" about 33,000 acres of land from farmers and other land owners in the Vijayawada- Guntur region for raising the modern city of international standards, albeit a "people's capital" that is convenient for poor as well.
Amaravathi had seen three religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism – flourishing in the region, Rao, a former General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh History Congress, said.
The name Amaravathi may have come from 'Aramavati' (house for 'aramas' or monasteries), he said.
Though the naming of the city as Amaravathi has largely been welcomed, the gigantic task of developing the capital stares at the TDP government led by Naidu as the state is now faced with a fiscal deficit of Rs 17,500 crore after losing the crown jewel of Hyderabad to Telangana in bifurcation.
Naidu, who was once the poster boy of IT and reforms in the country, has big dreams for developing the new capital as a world-class city.
The Singapore government is preparing the master plan for the capital for free.
The plan has three components – overall capital region, capital city and seed capital, Naidu had said.
The Singapore government submitted a report on capital region during Naidu's visit to the city state on March 31, the capital city master plan details would be submitted by May 15 and that on seed capital would be given by June.
The government's decision to name the capital as Amaravathi has largely been welcomed by all, though Opposition parties hold different views on the issue.
Main opposition YSR Congress had organised protests against allegedly forcible acquisition of land, though it is not opposed to its location.
YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy had earlier visited the villages in the proposed capital region and voiced opposition of farmers to part with their lands.
A group of retired officials, who had visited the region, expressed concern over multi-cropped land being taken for building the capital.
According to LSN Prasad, Reader in Economics in the Hindu College in Guntur, the Amaravathi region has been fertile and witnessed robust agriculture activity with the availability of river water.
Observing that multiple crops, including rice and a wide variety of horticulture crops like carrot, are grown in the region, he, however, felt that future generations may lose out on the crops.