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Friday, October 23, 2015

Amaravati ~the new State Capital is born !

From ancient times, civilizations have developed and thrived nearer major rivers.

River Krishna,  is the fourth longest river which flows entirely in India, after the Ganges, Godavari and Narmada. One for sure would not miss the long bridge on this river nearer Bejawada [Vijayawada station].  On 2nd June 2014 was born a new State – Telengana, making the no. to 29.  Though a new entrant, it is 12th largest in terms of size and initially shared the capital at Hyderabad with Andhra Pradesh.   Now Andhra Pradesh is to have a brand new State Capital – literally built brick by bricks – it is ‘Amaravati’. While many would have clamoured for an existing city, Mr Chandrababu Naidu has other ideas.

Indian Express reports that Amaravati is one of the few places in the country where a river flows north instead of south or east. This is considered auspicious and well over 2,000 years ago, the Satavahanas chose the site to build their capital at Dharanikota, two kilometres away from Amaravati town. It’s located close to two well developed cities: it is 32 kilometres away from Guntur and 39 kilometres away from Vijayawada. When the Andhra Pradesh government decided to name the proposed new capital city ‘Amaravati’ it was not just to resurrect the name of an ancient political, cultural and Buddhist capital that was ahead of its time even then, but also with the hope that the new capital would acquire the name, fame, glory and grandeur associated with it — retaining its historical significance yet reflecting modernity.

News reports suggest that around five lakh people attended the function at Uddandarayunipalem village on the banks of river Krishna. After performing the 'shila nyas' for the capital city — about 40 kms from Vijayawada, the commercial capital of Andhra Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the gathering.  Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu providied a Telugu translation.  Among the dignitaries in attendance were Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Assam and Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao —Central ministers Ms Nirmala Sitaraman, YS Chowdary and Bandaru Dattatreya. Ministers and delegations from Singapore and Japan also attended the event.

The new Amaravati will rise on the banks of the Krishna river between Vijayawada and Guntur. Given that the new capital requires large tracts of land for development, the AP government took a major decision to procure 33,000 acres for the capital through land pooling instead of land acquisition. So far, 30,000 acres have been procured. The capital region comprising 30 villages between Vijayawada and Guntur was chosen because it is centrally located and easily accessible from north and south, coastal districts and the Rayalaseema region. The region was chosen because of its scenic beauty with blue hills overlooking the river Krishna.

Chief minister Naidu has promised that it will be a world-class and 'people's capital'. The city will be spread over 54,000 acres and in 10 years will have the state secretariat, high court and legislative assembly, among other things. Singapore government agencies have prepared the master plans for the three-layered capital -- seed capital, capital city and capital region. While the Centre would provide funds for construction of legislature buildings as per the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Act, the state government has plans to set up hubs of sports, entertainment and in other fields to promote economic activity, an official release said earlier. According to IANS, Telugu Association of North America (TANA), the oldest and the largest association of Telugu people outside the Telugu states, is also raising funds for the development of the city through a 'My Brick - My Amaravati' campaign. It will accept donations from all non-resident Telugus who are interested in contributing. It is stated that interested public can sponsor 'bricks' with each brick at Rs. 10/-

From now on web searches for Amaravati will lead to the new State Capital of AP – earlier it referred to the village in the Guntur district,  located on the banks of Krishna River.  Though now it is a village administration, it was an important historic town that  served as the capital of the Satavahana kingdom in ancient days.  Sri Amaralingeswara Swamy temple is located here and it is also a historic Buddhist site,  with a  stupa dating back to 2nd  century BCE. The Sātavāhana Empire was based in  Dharanikota and Amaravati as well as Junnar (Pune) and Prathisthan (Paithan) in Maharashtra.  The Satavahanas are credited for establishing peace in the country, resisting the onslaught of foreigners after the decline of the Mauryan Empire.  They are known for their patronage of Hinduism. The Sātavāhanas were early issuers of Indian state coinage struck with images of their rulers.

Other than the new State Capital, Andhra deserves appreciation for the steps taken in interlinking rivers.  Taking the first step to interlink the mighty Godavari and Krishna rivers, water from the Godavari was released into a newly built canal,  flowing  eventually to meet the river Krishna at Prakasam Barrage at Vijayawada after flowing for 174 kms. After flowing for 124 kms, the Godavari water reached the Krishna delta region where it was welcomed by thousands of farmers and villagers who offered flowers and prayers.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Oct 2015.

NEWS source acknowledgement : www.indianexpress.com; photo : www.narendramodi.in

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