Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is making a strong pitch for investment in Amaravati, his dream capital. Outlining the plans for the capital, Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor, Communications, tells BV Mahalakshmi that shifting key administrative offices from Hyderabad to Vijayawada and Amaravati was a tough but bold call for the government to take and showed its commitment to the city. Excerpts:
How do you view the challenges in building a capital from scratch?
It is as much a challenge as an opportunity. We want the capital to be an alive and happening city rather than a bureaucratic conclave. Building infrastructure, managing operations and people issues are our main challenges. To procure land we thought of the land pooling scheme rather than the Land Acquisition Act which would have cost us more. Remember, we started off with a revenue deficit.
What would be the spread of infrastructure like?
We are looking at a comprehensive city which would have dedicated zones for different sectors. We needed a development partner to anchor projects and bring in players to build this infrastructure. So we selected a consortium of Singapore firms and adopted the Swiss Challenge model. Some of the government buildings should be ready by March 2017.
We are following a three-pronged approach. On 900 acres would be located government buildings and living quarters. The second ring of 1,691 acres is for the private sector. A master developer will be chosen by September to establish a project SPV, with the Amaravati Development Corporation as a partner. The master developer would be auctioning plots besides establishing the start-up area and creating jobs.
Last, Amravati being the people’s capital, farmers are most important for us. APCRDA would be acting as both facilitator and builder for the farmers who gave up land for the capital.
How is the state positioned on finances?
It is the Centre’s responsibility to fund the construction of the core capital. All other projects would be implemented under PPP mode. Development costs for the next 15 years are estimated at Rs 45,000 crore. While the Centre has given about Rs 1,350 crore, the state has tied up $1 billion from the World Bank. APCRDA has also signed an MoU for a Rs 7,500 loan to kickstart projects in phases. Besides, we are in talks with institutional investors, global and Indian.
What about interest from foreign companies ?
Chinese companies are interested in tie-ups in the infrastructure segment while Japanese companies are looking at technology transfer. Funds will flow through the PPP model. A total of 328 MoUs with an investment potential of Rs 4.67 lakh crore were signed during the CII Partnership Summit in January this year.