Erstwhile Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in 2014 and the state was left in a lurch with a bifurcation act filled with loopholes and hollow promises made in parliament. The state was left with huge revenue deficit and directed to build its capital within 10 years.
On April 30th, 2014 Shri Narendra Modi, in his Prime Ministerial campaign at the holy town of Tirupati, said “Seemandhra can develop a new capital which can make Delhi look smaller”. He suggested to Naidu to form a team to study and develop the new capital on the lines of smart cities made by other countries.
After TDP won the election in May 2014, the Chief Minister embarked upon the task of streamlining the defunct administration and building a capital for the state. In a politically hyperactive state like Andhra Pradesh, even a minor task becomes onerous.
CM Chandrababu Naidu after long deliberations identified the region that would benefit the citizens of the state and its future generations. The state assembly discussed and setup CRDA (Capital Region Development Authority) to spearhead the capital development process. The government identified 30,000 acres (122 sq km) between Guntur and Vijayawada cities adjoining NH5 and on southern side of Krishna River. Taking into consideration, the importance of the land for farmers, the government decided on consensual ‘Land Pooling’ instead of ‘Land Acquisition’. The goal of the government was to provide maximum benefit to farmers, which would not be the case if land acquisition was done. Till date 3900 acres have been procured under this land poolinggovernment forecasts that the population in capital region will grow to 80 lakh from the current population of 25 Lakh.
The AP State government in collaboration with Governments of Singapore and Japan, along with support of central government is moving ahead in designing the master-plan for the capital.
Benefits for residents/farmers in Capital Region:
For every one acre of land surrendered under land pooling,
1) The individual will get the government developed land as shown in the table below. [for Dry land 1000 sq yd residential + 200 sq yd commercial per acre]
2) In addition the farmer is paid for crop loss for a decade. [ Rs 30,000 – 50,000 per year/acre for 10 years with an annual increment of Rs 3000 – 5000.]
3) One time waiver of pending agriculture loans of upto Rs 1.5 Lakh per family.
4) Registration charges, stamp fee etc are waived. Skill Development training, Pension and other benefits are outlined in the GO. 
As reported in newspapers, the extent of Dry land is 24,000 acres and Wet land is 6,000 acres.
A hypothetical low level estimate of Rs 10,000 per Sq Yard would fetch Rs 1.2 Crores for the owner of 1200 sq yards plot. [The rates are way ahead of the above price estimate.]
The tentative usage is outlined below. Singapore government is coordinating with the state in designing a master plan. In Stage 1, “Visioning exercise” will be done by mid-February. In Stage 2, a detailed action plan and Zoning would be completed by end of April. The master plan for capital area will be completed in Stage 3 by June.
CRDA would be left with a ballpark estimate of 22,000 acres after parting 8,000 acres of developed land to the farmers under land pooling. Government plans to use 50% of the land for Infrastructure as outlined in the table above. The CRDA would be left with 11,000 acres for its planned development of a capital on global standards.
Case of Naya Raipur and Chandigarh?
- In case of Naya Raipur (Capital of Chattisgarh), the plan was to develop the capital in 20,000 acres. Additionally an area of 54,363 acres [22,000 hectares] being left as buffer and green zone. [ ].
The master plan was prepared in consultation with the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi as well as the City and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Navi Mumbai. Though the state formed in year 2000, the capital plans moved forward only around 2007 after long delays due to political compulsions.
- In case of Chandigarh, 9,000 acres was acquired for the capital area and another 6,000 acres in the second phase. The master plan of the city was prepared by French architect Le Corbusier.
Why not forest land?
The government has deliberated on many locations and various aspects before finalizing the current stretch. Even if government would have gone for Forest land de-notification (bifurcation act allows this), the state would have to pay Rs 10.50 lakh per acre towards NPV (net present value), afforestation and other charges to center. State should also have to give an equivalent area of land at some other location in the state to be earmarked and developed as forest area.
Why not procure in Phases?
The prices would be exorbitant once capital development starts. The demands for land pooling would be sky high. The only option would be land acquisition for which there would be unimaginable resistance.
Opposition Parties and NGOs:
A Prominent leader from the main opposition party wrote to PM and CM saying 50,000 acres of land should be procured and Land acquisition is not the best way as it would prove costly for state. [http://m.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/50000-acres-govt-land-needed-for-capital/article6221961.ece/%5D] There are voices that question on ‘Fertile Land being used for making a concrete jungle’, ‘Need for such a huge land bank’ and ‘why not use Vijayawada itself’. These mundane debates will continue.
Past Governments and Land Acquisition:
The past governments of Andhra Pradesh have acquired 20,000 acres for VANPIC SEZ (adjoining district to the new capital) and 7000 acres for Lepakshi SEZ in the last decade. The ultimate looser in this land acquisition were farmers who got a compensation of Rs 1.5 – 2 Lakh per acre. The entire process is under CBI Investigation for Land acquisition.
Dholera SIR is a new mega city being built in Gujarat in 920 Sq Km [6 times the size of Shanghai].
Govt. of India Land Acquisition Act:
At a very high level, four times the land value plus entitlements is the compensation as per the act. You can look at the details of the compensation model in the existing act here.[, Rehabilitation_and_Resettlement_Act,_2013]
The Act passed by UPA in 2013, which made it mandatory for seeking consent of 70% of gram sabhas for PPP projects and 80% for private entities. The current NDA Government has changed the act with an ordinance to waive the ‘consent clause’ and ‘Social Impact Assessment (SIA)’. The act allows Multi-Crop land to be acquired for Infrastructure and development projects.
There are many articles outlining the advantages of ‘Land pooling and reconstitution’ vs ‘land acquisition’.
Singapore itself is a prime example of how a modern sustainable city can be developed. They are globally renowned for their expertise in building infrastructure projects. They have gained international repute by showcasing their expertise in China, where the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Sino- Singapore Tianjin Eco-city are being developed. Mr. Khoo Teng Chye, executive director of Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) has been nominated by the government to be part of the new capital’s advisory committee.
“What human beings need is not utopia (‘no place’) but entopia (‘in place’) a real city which they can build, a place which satisfies the dreamer and is acceptable to the scientist, a place where the artist and the builder merge” Constantinos A. Doxiadis
World’s greatest cities have flourished on river fronts and they have become hub of vibrant economic activity. As CM said “Capital is not about four buildings. We want to build a capital that would be renowned internationally and become a global investment destination.” . The new capital of Andhra Pradesh would provide thousands of jobs during its construction phase and much needed vibrancy to the state’s economy by attracting huge investments. It is the time for people of the state to provide constructive suggestions to develop the state and lead it to greater horizons. Thousands have come forward and voluntarily donated for the new capital fund. We can become part of developing a historic capital for the state and pass it to our future generations. The government can be proactive in alienating fears and communicate better to dispel doubts and prevent rumors. If we indulge in political one-upmanship the end result will be a quagmire. With a dynamic Chief Minister at the helm, Andhra Pradesh is poised for a giant leap. It is time for the state to aim for all round development and attain the vanguard position among Indian states and become a role model to emulate.
Author: @rakitweets on twitter.