asking why 30000 acres for andhra capitalJ.Vishnu Shankar:

Ever since the Andhra government declared its intention to pool 30,000 acres for the capital city, we have been hearing the same question from several people. – Why do we need 30,000 acres for a Capital ?? And this question arose not just from opposition parties and reputed individuals from different walks of life but also from common public. To be fair to the sceptics, the AP government has not really cared to answer this question convincingly. It should have ideally gone on a media overdrive to put forward its view point. It is unfortunate that it did not do so. Land pooling became a success despite that, as there was a general feeling even among land holding farmers of the region that Chandrababu will be able to construct a good capital and consequently, they would benefit from their share of the land appreciating multiple times.

While this story of land pooling is now done and dusted, there are some people still asking the same question. Why do you need such large extent of land ? Why can’t you have a small administrative capital in a smaller area ? When you look closely at the debate it is essentially a clash of view points between people looking at ” short term reality” and those looking at it with ” long term aspirations”. I am a votary of the later and hence want to put forward my preference as strongly as I can.

But before I write as to why I think that 30,000 acres is the bare minimum for a capital, I want to ask some questions to the readers.

  1. Do you think a good capital with wide roads, modern drainage system, good connectivity is an essential part for a state which wants to prosper ?
  2. Do you think a good livable capital city helps in attracting investments to the state ?
  3. Do you think Andhra needs to have a capital city which can compete with other state capitals ?

If your answer to the above basic questions is NO, you can stop reading further as whatever else I say will not make any sense to you. We can agree to disagree but you can just close this page. But if your answers to the above questions is yes, Please read on.

  1. Guidelines in all modern cities across the globe, and not just in India, suggest that 50% of the land needs to be left for roads, parks and other common amenities. So only 50% of any area can be built upon. So, if the government has to acquire only 5000 acres instead of the 30,000 acres, the develop-able area will be only 2500 acres.
  2. First, let us get some perspective on how big is 2500 acres. I will give you some examples. Hyderabad and Bangalore airports are built on land which is 5000 acres or more. So people saying capital can be built in 5000 acres are actually asking for a capital which is half of Hyderabad airport.
  3. I will give you some more examples. Vizag steel plant is built on 33,000 acres. Present Guntur is 40,000 acres. Present Vijayawada is 70,000 acres. Present Hyderabad city is 2 lac acres.
  4. So even after being built on 30,000 acres, our capital city will still be smaller than Vizag steel plant.

See how ridiculous the arguments for a smaller capital city are. After all, what are the opponents of 30,000 acres saying

  1. They say that to build an Assembly,Secretariat, CMs office, MLA quarters etc you do not need more than 1000 acres.
  2. By saying so, they are simply assuming that nothing else, apart from the above, is wanted.
  3. Which means as per them we do not need houses, offices, schools, colleges, universities, marriage halls, hotels, playgrounds, bus stands, railway stations ( even metro stations), banks, post offices, parks, libraries, cultural centres, temples, markets, movie halls, multiplexes, shopping malls, vegetable shops, playschools, police stations….. none of them. The list can go on..
  4. Are we fools to believe that none of these need to come up in the vicinity, once an area is declared a capital ?
  5. And if we do not earmark land for the above, where are they going to be built? You can very well  guess the answer. All the above and many more will come up in a haphazard, unplanned manner all around the capital making it a complete mess.
  6. If you still can not visualise what will happen, think of a capital which resembles a King Koti or a Sultan bazaar , a Chikkadapalli or RTC cross roads.

Is that the kind of Capital Andhrites want ?? It is clear that a “Koti look alike capital” will be a curse and not a boon. And all these so called intellectuals making a pitch for a smaller administrative capital are doing a great disservice to the new state. Their demands can only take the state backwards by a hundred years. I assume that they are demanding so out of ignorance and by assuming that, I am being extremely generous with them, which probably they do not deserve.