SINGAPORE: More than anything else, Singapore attaches more importance to planning. This is borne out by the fact that the island nation has a full-fledged department for planning for short-term and long-term goals and for ensuring that whatever is planned for the short term does not run in conflict with the long-term objectives.
The Andhra Pradesh government, realising that the secret of success for any project, more so construction of capital lies in planning, is now drawing in full measure from Singapore’s expertise in this area. The specialised planning wing of the government - Centre for Liveable Cities - which has rich experience in planning is now helping the state decide how its capital should be.
Centre for Livable Cities (CLC) executive director Khoo Teng Chye, in an informal interaction with mediapersons from AP who were visiting Singapore, said that he has one important reason for preparing the master plan for AP. “We are on schedule. We will deliver the detailed master plan for AP capital in June. We have already delivered outline master plan when AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was in Singapore recently,” he said, adding: “Planning for a major project like capital city for a state of the size of AP which has a varied cultural mosaic, would help enrich our experience which would be useful for us in another context.”
The tough times Singapore has gone through had in a way helped the people build the nation brick by brick. In the process, Singapore has learnt a lot, though the hard way. “It has taken five decades for us to reach the stage we are in now,” Chye said. “The CLC wants to use the experience that Singapore has gained to help AP build a world-class capital,” he pointed out.
The CLC helps the state in planning but the rest - ensuring that it throbs with vitality and buzzing communities that should feel proud to own it - would be the part that the state has to fill in. “We are more or less like the think tank. In AP there are a lot of opportunities. It has rich agriculture area. It has the potential to become the eastern gateway way of India,” said Chye.
‘’In fact, AP stands on a better footing. Now it has to build a capital. That means it has to start from the scratch and better planning could be done,” he said, adding that in the case of Singapore it was different.
The challenge before Singapore was that when the British left 60 years ago, it had to build a new city over the existing one, providing infrastructure that would help people lead a life of dignity and decency.
The AP capital should be a vibrant city with economic and social activity. We would help the Capital Region Development Authority, constituted for the purpose of development of the city, in gaining necessary expertise.