If you needed to know if Amaravati is happening or not, you could not have got a louder hint than this. Through an order dated 11 November, the Andhra Pradesh government has closed the Amaravati Capital City Start-Up Area project. This was to be developed by the Singapore Consortium which comprised Ascendas Singbridge Pte Ltd (now part of CapitalLand group) and Sembcorp Development Limited.
A press release by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore says the Consortium was appointed by the previous Andhra Pradesh government in 2017 to help master develop the 6.84 sq km start up area of Amaravati capital city. This was the core area of the capital.
“We note that the newly elected Government of Andhra Pradesh has decided not to proceed with the Start-Up area given its other priorities for the state,” S Iswaran, Minister of Trade Relations of Singapore is quoted as saying.
The Andhra Pradesh government has put the blame at the door of the Singapore Consortium.
“How the state will benefit out of the project, was the genuine concern we have expressed and a satisfactory reply was not forthcoming. The work has not begun in the desired pace in the start-up area and other basic formalities were not completed which is of a great concern to us. During the past four years, it was noted, that the Consortium did not undertake tangible work while it could be seen that other institutions like VIT, SRM and Amrutha had utilized the land allotted to them for the intended purpose and colleges were built during that period. The Government wants development and growth on a fast track which was found wanting and has decided to close the issue and it was done on mutual consent.” said Botsa Satyanarayana, Municipal Administration minister of Andhra Pradesh.
What does this development mean?
That the Jagan government is slowly but surely abandoning Amaravati. For many months now, different ministers in the Jagan cabinet have been sending signals that Amaravati was not their priority. This begs the question – why have the GN Rao committee submit its report when you have already decided to junk the capital project.
Two, what a waste of public money this has been. Chandrababu Naidu did not care for public opinion or objections raised by environmentalists when he decided to go ahead with Amaravati. Huge money was spent by this poor state, trying to get in the best minds in the world to build a dream capital. Jagan did not show any interest in making do with what has been done with a few more additions. Now Amaravati is a ghost city, with no activity beyond the administrative secretariat.
Why should the people of Andhra Pradesh bear the brunt of regimes deciding to do their own thing, completely at variance with each other? Why should so much of public money – Rs 9000 crore so far in Amaravati – go down the drain when it could have been spent for better causes? What happens if, let us hypothetically assume, the TDP returns to power in 2024. Will it restart Amaravati all over again?
Categories: Andhra Pradesh