Andhra Pradesh will develop Visakhapatnam on the lines of Hyderabad while looking at the Vijayawada-Guntur stretch, rather than a single city, as its new capital zone.
“We won’t concentrate on developing one single city. Instead we will develop a city in each district, encourage development of smaller towns into cities,” Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said.
The government will develop Vizag, which Naidu has toured, as an IT hub, set up facilities for the Telugu, Oriya and Bengali film industries, and aggressively promote tourism. “We have plans to develop Vizag into a major IT hub, providing plug-and-play facilities and attractive investment opportunities. Besides software firms, there is lot of attention on developing hardware parks, facilities for setting up BPOs, and R&D facilities,” an official said. “The city will also become a hub for the film industry and its proximity to Orissa and Bengal will attract filmmakers from those states too. There are several scenic locations along the Vizag coast including Aaraku Valley. The city has an international airport and a seaport, an added advantage. A Ramoji Film City on the lines of the one in Hyderabad is expected to come up in Vizag too while there are plans to set up a mega film city nearby.”
Vizag will be one of six cities to be developed as hi-tech cities. Sources said media businessman Ramoji Rao will be allotted 500 acres to develop a film city while actor-turned-politician K Chiranjeevi will build the “mega film city’ with several partners.”
“Vizag has a huge potential for growth, especially in the IT sector. Given its location, it can also be developed as a film industry centre. The pharma industry is growing. Many international firms have expressed a willingness to invest in Vizag,’’ Naidu said.
Officials said the capital zone will stretch from Vijayawada to Guntur and even smaller cities such as Eluru and Tenali will have some administrative buildings, government establishments, and courts. “Rayalaseema, which has huge tracts of land, will be developed as an industrial hub. The CM is focusing on the manufacturing and service sectors,’’ the official said.
Last week, Naidu discussed the possible capital with a state-level advisory committee, while McKinsey presented its “Vision for AP Capital”. The CM asked the committee to scout for an ad hoc capital that will house key administrative offices until all infrastructure is completed in the capital.
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.