The Truth About A Capital Ghost City Called Amaravati

Picture courtesy: Vijay,  photographer, Sakshi Vijayawada

By Reshmi AR

As shams and scams go, Amaravati takes the cake. It is a humongous fraud played on the people of Andhra Pradesh, a mirage, and can best be described as a political conjuror's confidence trick on the unsuspecting people of the state.

Amaravati, characterised as a world class capital city like Singapore visualised by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is work in progress. But the problem is that the work has barely begun. Not a stone has been moved. Even the foundation stone laid by Prime Minister Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Central Minister Arun Jaitley lies surrounded by weeds and wild plants.

The pothole-ridden road to Amaravati is an experience in itself. The bumpy ride best exemplifies Chandrababu's tall claims of a global city and the contrasting reality on the ground. Even as you strain your eyes to sight some signs of construction, leave alone a world class capital city, all you see is the foundation stones lying amid thorny bushes.

Picture courtesy: Vijay, photographer, Sakshi Vijayawada

There are a few men intently looking at their flashy mobile screens while talking animatedly about something. I decide to find out if these villagers are even aware where they are standing right now.

A villager who introduced himself as Anjaiah looks up and says, “This is Amaravati, capital city of AP.”

Has he seen any worker with maps or plans come here for a survey and he’s quick to say. “Except on the day the foundation stone was laid, which created a lot of commotion and raised eyebrows, not a soul has returned since.” Just when I was about to ask him another question, another man standing next to him joins the conversation. “We were told this region will turn into a paradise. But what you see here is a graveyard with tomb stones lying there,” he says pointing to stones laid by the Prime Minister of the country.

I take off from there to check out the master plan of Amaravati city which boasts of an education hub, health city, industry zone and what not! Even as I walk away from the place, I find another stone laid by PM Modi. A security guard stands there looking bored.

As I return to check out the much-touted seed access road network which is supposed to connect the entire capital city region with Vijayawada, I find that roads are not laid, and worse, there are mini ponds everywhere that have turned into a swamp. There are several water bodies within the CRDA limits, but unfortunately, most of them have been destroyed to make roads. They could have been used to beautify the place instead.

Picture courtesy: Vijay, photographer, Sakshi Vijayawada

It appears ecology has taken a back seat in the scheme of the AP chief minister’s planning. The green cover will get completely wiped out and in its place what is being planned is a concrete jungle. The groundwater levels are high now and will turn dry if the massive concrete structures come up here. That is if and when the capital city takes concrete shape here, no pun intended! These were the thoughts expressed by a cop I met on my way. He wished to stay anonymous for fear of losing his job. I ask him if he’s excited about the upcoming city and he says “Madam, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. As you can see only the master plan is ready but there’s zero progress.” I ask him if this will be completed in the next five years? He says, “It will take a minimum of ten years because the intent here of the present government is not to build a capital city but to amass wealth.” On being asked why he didn’t want to reveal his name, he says: “Nobody can survive speaking against the CM. If I tell my name today, harassment starts from the very next minute. We have to follow instructions blindly whether we like it not. And Chandrababu may make tall claims, but he’s least bothered about our welfare.”

Picture courtesy: Vijay, photographer, Sakshi Vijayawada

I gather that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu spent a whopping Rs 350 crores for the foundation ceremony of Amaravati. What with the likes of Prime Minister and central ministers being invited as chief guests, it turned out to be a gala event Unfortunately, that is the only bit of progress the planned capital city can boast of! The roads are half built, water bodies closed to lay roads, lands forcibly snatched away, Durgamma flyover in the heart of Vijayawada hangs incomplete..this is the story of real Amaravati on the ground for you.

Picture courtesy: Vijay, photographer, Sakshi Vijayawada

Also Read: How Chandrababu Gifted 14 Acres Of Prime Capital Land To Heritage, His Proxies

Also Read: Amaravati-Land Fooling Or Land Pooling?

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