With CM Naidu back at helm, investors show interest in Amaravati again

 

by IANS | Thu, Jun 27, 2024, 03:19 PM

Amaravati, June 27 (IANS) With N. Chandrababu Naidu back at the helm in Andhra Pradesh, investors are once again showing interest in Amaravati, the greenfield capital city.


As the new government of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) began the groundwork to resume construction activity, domestic and foreign investors are evincing interest to pump in money.


Some of them have already approached the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) to convey their interest.


After a gap of five years, Amaravati sprang to life with the TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance storming to power with a landslide majority this month.


Reiterating his commitment to developing Amaravati as the only state capital, Naidu last week visited the region and reviewed the status of various components of his dream project launched during his earlier term.


The APCRDA and officials of the state government are busy preparing revised cost proposals to seek Central assistance.


Naidu, whose party TDP with 16 MPs is a key partner in the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, is likely to seek liberal assistance to complete the project in two to three years.


Parallelly, the Chief Minister has started inviting private investors to Amaravati.


During a brief stopover in Bengaluru, while returning from his home district Chittoor on Wednesday, Naidu met some top executives of a couple of companies.


He invited Century Real Estate Holdings to invest in Amaravati. Company’s Executive Director Ashwin Pai told Naidu that they would soon decide in this regard.


Two days ago, the Australian Consul-General for Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep, Silai Zaki visited Amaravati and called on APCRDA Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar.


They discussed the investment opportunities for Australian entrepreneurs in Amaravati's capital city.


Chandrababu Naidu is keen to complete the works which were taken up earlier but were stalled in 2019 after the YSR Congress Party government decided to develop three state capitals.


The Chief Minister held talks with representatives of companies who were awarded works for various projects.


These projects include quarters for All India Service officers, Ministers, MLAs, MLCs and employees.


The government officials are negotiating with the companies to clear the decks for early resumption of work.


Multi-storeyed apartments (G+12 floors) for state legislators and AIS officers, bungalows for top bureaucrats, Secretariat and General Administration Towers, High Court building, Judicial Complex and Additional Court Halls, E6 Trunk Road, NGO Quarters, apartments meant for Type-1, Type-II officers and Group D employees and bungalows for judges and Ministers are the works for which tenders were awarded. Some of the buildings are nearing completion.


APCRDA officials expect that the completion of these works will kickstart the entire project and will help showcase Amaravati once again as a potential investment destination.


After the field visit, Naidu announced that a white paper on the status of the Amaravati capital city project will be released soon. He invited suggestions from people, including NRIs to develop the state capital.


It was in 2015 that Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for Amaravati, the brainchild of Naidu.


Naidu had got the master plan for Amaravati prepared by Singapore.


With nine theme cities and 27 townships, it was planned in an area of 217 square km as a world-class city.


Designed not merely as an administrative capital but as an economic and job-creating hub and tourism centre, it was planned to be developed in three phases -- seed area or core capital, capital city and capital region.


Amaravati then attracted the attention of investors from countries like Australia, Japan, Germany, Singapore and Britain.


Naidu's grandiose plans to build the state capital require an estimated Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Works worth Rs 38,000 crore on projects like roads and state secretariat complex were launched in 2018.


However, the work came to a grinding halt in 2019 as the YSRCP government led by Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy reversed the decision of the previous government and announced its plans to build three state capitals.


Jagan Mohan Reddy had mooted Visakhapatnam as the administrative capital, and Kurnool and Amaravati as judicial capitals.


However, the three-capital plan remained a non-starter due to strong opposition from farmers of 29 villages in the Amaravati region who had given 33,000 acres of land for the state capital development.


An abrupt halt to the construction activity in Amaravati created uncertainty among investors.


The World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) were the first to pull out of a project to fund Amaravati's development. They had committed $300 million and $200 million, respectively, for the project.


The biggest blow came when a consortium of Singapore companies closed the Amaravati Capital City Startup Project, the agreement for which was signed during TDP rule.


It remains to be seen how Naidu will attract global investors to Amaravati once again.


After assuming office as Minister for municipal administration and urban development on June 16, P. Narayana said that state capital works will be completed in two-and-a-half years.


According to him, the development of Amaravati in three phases will cost Rs 1 lakh crore.


The first phase was taken up by the earlier TDP government for Rs 48,000 crore.

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