Andhra is all set to get a spanking new capital city called Amravati – this came as a result of the split of Andhra Pradesh and the creation of Telangana state. The land for this new city was taken from farmers and now, it is payback time for them for having parted with their lands. The payback is in the form of a junket to Singapore, ostensibly to show them how the grand plans in Amravati will look like. The trip is a bid to show the farmers how their city Amravati will look like for which they have sacrificed their land. The Amravati project will be constructed on a mammoth budget of Rupees 55,000 crore and is expected to be completed in 20 years. A consortium of Singapore firms, Surbana Jurong, is the master planner and lead consultant for the capital city.
34 farmers are the first batch of the total 123 farmers, hailing from Guntur, selected by the N. Chandrababu Naidu government to tour Singapore. The farmers’ travel costs are to be borne by the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) while rest of the accommodations will be facilitated by the Naidu government.
Idupalapati Sitaramaiah (65) of Velagapudi village gave up 10 acres for the project and is receiving 5 lakhs per annum as compensation. He said that more than a trip, Singapore visit will be a peek into the promises made by the Chief Minister for most of the farmers, Indian Express reports. “We gave our precious, fertile lands to Chandrababu for this. We want to live in a city like Singapore, and it should come upon the land that we gave. If not us, at least our children should live in one. So, we want to see and experience what Singapore is like. If the CM fails to deliver, we can question him,” Sitaramaiah said.
Several farmers involved in the tour haven’t stepped out of their villages ever and are skeptic about how they would converse with people and about the strict laws in the island city-state. Y Bhramananda is one such person who says, “CRDA officers say they will translate the English, but I am not sure we will grasp everything. Most of us don’t know about international travel either.”
The Singapore itinerary lists guided tours by Singapore’s Centre for Livable Cities, Building and Construction Authority, and Ministry of Trade and Industry; a visit to the Singapore Art Museum to look at how the city-state developed; and a session on the construction laws for low- and high-rise apartments there.
While many farmers are eager to look into how micro economy businesses run, others have been planning to shop as Singapore is known to be one of the most sought-after shopping destinations. Also, many are even excited about their visit to Universal Studios and Disneyland. At a meeting arranged by the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), most of the questions asked by the 34 farmers were about the amount of currency they could carry to Singapore, about Custom hassles they could face for carrying gold and the electronic gadgets they could buy.