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Friday, January 24, 2020

Amaravati, a city fast shaping up with dedicated regions

With the new Andhra Pradesh capital being developed with nine theme cities, Knowledge and Health regions are especially getting traction where university campuses and healthcare facilities have either been set up or are being constructed

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Updated: September 2, 2017 8:59:57 am
A view of temporary secretariat at Velagapudi in Amaravati city. Express Photo

The nine thematic regions — Knowledge, Health, Electronics, Tourism, Justice, Media, Sports, Finance and Government — in Andhra Pradesh’s (AP) capital Amaravati have started shaping up. The state government will lay foundation stone for the Government City, which will comprise Secretariat and Legislative complex, on Dussehra later this month. This apart, construction of the high court will begin at the Justice City on October 30.

Knowledge and Health cities are witnessing the fastest development at Amaravati. At the Knowledge City, which is at the centre of Amaravati and connects other eight theme cities, educational institutions such as SRM University, National Institute of Design, Amity University, Amrita University, Centurion University, Central Institute of Tool Design, and National Institute of Fashion Technology have started construction of their campuses. Moreover, Vellore Institute of Technology has already started its first batch in July.

At the Health City, Indo-UK Institute of Health, an AIIMS and a 2,250-bed multi-superspeciality hospital of Mata Amritanandamayi Trust, which is an extension of the Amrita Medical University, are fast coming up. Dubai-based BR Shetty Group is also setting up a medi-city project, including a superspeciality hospital and a stem cell research unit. At nearby Mangalagiri IT Park in Guntur district, a Pi Data Centre has come up with an investment of Rs 600 crore. When fully developed, it would be the largest data centre in the country with over 1,500 software professionals working there.

Y Nagi Reddy, director, economic development, AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), said: “Our focus was on Knowledge and Health cities first and much of the development that is taking place is at these two places. The total investment in the Knowledge City would be Rs 20,000 crore approximately, while Rs 30,000 crore is expected at the Health City. The concept of developing such theme cities in a capital city is first in the country.”

“Tenders would be shortly called for the construction of the government complex,” said Reddy. The Andhra Pradesh High Court complex would be in the shape of a Buddhist stupa, symbolic of the region which was a Buddhist centre for centuries, while the Legislative complex would be shaped like a diamond, drawing inspiration from the Kohinoor, which was found centuries ago near Guntur, 35 km from Amaravati. The designs were submitted by London-based Foster + Partners.

Along the river Krishna’s waterfront, development of a start-up hub has also been started by a consortium of Singapore-based Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development. The area lies within the 20-square kilometre Seed Development Area of Amaravati City. Spreading over 684 hectares, the start-up area is to be developed in phases over 15 to 20 years. A greenfield project, it includes infrastructure development to prepare the site for a mix of business, commercial and residential activities,
as well as catalytic development in the start-up area, said an official of the state’s Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA).

Drawing lessons from flooding in Chennai and Mumbai, Amaravati is being developed with flood security plan and anti-inundation measures prepared by consultants from IIT Madras and Netherlands. The consultants have prepared designs to avoid flood and water stagnation in Guntur and Vijayawada also. More, a massive stormwater drainage project, which is being funded by the Union urban development ministry, is under construction.

CRDA officials say that with 40 per cent of Amaravati dotted with vast green spaces and water bodies, and with only eco-friendly public transport like electric vehicles, it would become one of the most livable cities in the country. Ajay Jain, principal secretary, the energy, infrastructure & investment department, Government of AP, said: “We have approved only electric public transport buses and mass rapid transport. We will encourage only those vehicles that are running on clean fuel. Pollution in Amaravati will be very low.”

The whole of Amaravati will have underground cabling, with ducts already laid in the core capital region. There will be no electricity or telecom poles and no hanging wires of cable TV. In the core capital region, a park or a water body would be within a five-minute walking distance of the housing facilities that will start coming up soon. Amaravati will also have 30 km of waterfront.

Seven major roads, including a six-lane seed capital access road connecting Amaravati from all directions, are also nearing completion. The region will be a 7,420-sq km metropolitan area, covering Vijayawada and Guntur, of which 217 sq km is the capital Amaravati. Amaravati will have three main ring roads — a 94.5-km Internal Ring Road at a radius of 15 km from core capital city, a 150-km outer ring road at a radius of 25 km, and a 210-km regional ring road at a radius of 34 km.

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