Foundation to the dream capital of Andhra Pradesh was laid by the Prime Minister of India. The ‘Peoples Capital’ of Amaravati was born on the auspicious day of Vijayadasami or Dussehra. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew down to lay the foundation upon the invitation extended by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

Amid chanting of Vedic hymns by priests, Prime Minister Modi along with Chandrababu Naidu performed ‘puja’ to formally lay the foundation stone for the capital coming up on the banks of Krishna river. Before the rituals, Modi went around Amaravati Pavilion, a special exhibition arranged to highlight the glorious past of Amaravati, which was the capital of Satavahanas, the first great Andhra kings who ruled from the 2nd century BCE to the 3rd century CE after the downfall of the Maurya Empire. Earlier, PM Modi handed over to Naidu soil from the parliament complex and water from the Yamuna he brought with him.

The mammoth event, for which the state government made elaborate arrangements, witnessed the presence of five lakh people at Uddandarayunipalem village on the banks of river Krishna. After performing the ‘shila nyas’ for the capital city — about 40 kms from Vijayawada, the commercial capital of Andhra Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the gathering.

With Union minister Venkaiah Naidu providing a Telugu translation, PM Modi spoke of urban development being the need of the hour, and exhorted his audience to view this as an opportunity and not a problem. The Prime Minister said, “There have been few new cities made after independence. The quick speed in which Chandrababu Naidu has put everything together, I salute him from the bottom of my heart.” The need of the hour is urban development, he added. “We should see it as an opportunity and not as a problem”.

“Three new states were created when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister, but there was no fighting and no blood was spilled,” the Prime Minister said. “Because of lack of political understanding and hurry, Andhra and Telangana were divided… I feel for the innocent people who lost their lives and property in the process.”

Venkaiah Naidu, on the other hand, became quite emotional while the addressed the audience. He said he hoped that Amaravati would bring in laurels for the entire country. The Minister assured that all the promises made by the Government during the bifurcation of AP and Telangana would be fulfilled. Venkaiah Naidu expressed happiness over Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao extending support for the development of the Capital City. He further added that while the world is looking at India’s development, the country is looking at Andhra Pradesh’s and Hyderabad’s development.

In Hindu mythology, Amaravati is said to the capital of Indra, the king of Gods. In history, Amaravati, situated in Guntur district, was once the seat of power of Satavahana rulers. CM Naidu, too, plans a capital as grand. He said wants it to be a “people’s capital” and a haven of opportunities.

Naidu promised that Amaravati will rise again as the capital city, a vibrant economic centre and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. He said Amaravati will have nine cities – administrative, justice, sports, entertainment, education hardware and electronics. Seven regional centres and seven development corridors will be developed.

Thanking Singapore for preparing three master plans for the capital, he said Japan had come forward to be a partner in Amaravati’s development. Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yosuke Takagi said his country was ready to lend a helping with the experience and technology. Singapore’s Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said his country was ready to go beyond preparation of a Master Plan to be a partner in the capital’s development.

Among the dignitaries in attendance were Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Assam and Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao — who notably buried the hatchet with his Andhra Pradesh counterpart — Central ministers Nirmala Sitaraman, YS Chowdary and Bandaru Dattatreya. More than 8,000 police personnel were deployed as part of security arrangements for the grand event.

At a call from the Chief Minister, soil and water from 16,000 villages of the state and prominent pilgrim centres across the country have been brought to be used for the construction of the new city. Yesterday, this soil and water was sprinkled over the area where the capital city is to be built, as a symbol of collective participation.

To that end, Naidu has also asked each person to buy a single brick for the new capital.

Chief Minister Naidu has promised that it will be a world-class and ‘people’s capital’. The city will be spread over 54,000 acres and in 10 years will have the state secretariat, high court and legislative assembly, among other things. Singapore government agencies have prepared the master plans for the three-layered capital — seed capital, capital city and capital region. While the Centre would provide funds for construction of legislature buildings as per the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Act, the state government has plans to set up hubs of sports, entertainment and in other fields to promote economic activity.

Telugu Association of North America (TANA), the oldest and the largest association of Telugu people outside the Telugu states, is also raising funds for the development of the city through a ‘My Brick – My Amaravati’ campaign. It will accept donations from all non-resident Telugus who are interested in contributing. Interested public can sponsor ‘bricks’ with each brick at Rs 10.

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