Modi calls for world-class city in southern India

Hundreds of thousands of locals and dignitaries attend elaborate ceremony to kick-start building of Amaravati


Afp October 22, 2015
In this handout photograph released by the Indian Press Information Bureau (PIB) on October 22 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd L) performs a pooja ritual at the foundation stone laying ceremony in Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged authorities on Thursday to build a modern, tech-savvy city, as he laid the foundation stone for the new capital of a state in southern India.

Hundreds of thousands of locals and dignitaries attended the elaborate ceremony to kick-start the building of Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, on former farmland on the banks of a river.

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The city is needed after Andhra Pradesh was last year carved in two, forming the new state of Telangana, after an emotional campaign by locals stretching almost six decades.

Hyderabad, an IT hub home to giants Google and Microsoft, will serve as the capital of both states for the next decade until Amaravati is completed.

Modi praised the state government for seeking outside help to design the city, after Singapore government agencies developed master plans.

"Very few new cities have been formed in India since after our independence, so, sadly this idea still isn't discussed as much," Modi said at the ceremony broadcast on national television.

"We should take urbanisation as an opportunity and not a challenge for us. I hope that Amaravati becomes the leader in all aspects of smart, modern cities across India," he said as the crowd chanted the city's name.

After coming to power in May 2014, Modi's government announced ambitious plans to develop 100 so-called "smart cities" in a country where rapid urbanisation has left infrastructure struggling to cope.

On Thursday, soil and water collected from holy rivers, temples and mosques throughout India and from other countries was scattered on the site as prayers and other rituals were performed.

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Campaigners argued for years that Telangana was needed because the Telugu-speaking region in Andhra Pradesh had long been neglected by successive state governments.

But other sections of Andhra Pradesh fiercely opposed the split, fearing it would trigger economic upheaval.

COMMENTS (6)

Dr. Saleem Siddiqi | 6 years ago | Reply India is playing on the front foot and doing all sort of evil atrocities with its neighbor Pakistan. Whether it is Cricket, International Border, our TV Commentators, Our Cultural and Social persons - all facing a direct brunt from India especially from Shev Sena. In other words India is saying shut up to Pakistan and Pakistanis but we are taking all these rubbish very easily as we have lost our respect. As a first step Pakistan should ban all Indian Movies which are telecasted here first day first show and minting Millions of our Foreign Exchange. As a second step, we should stop ALL trades from India which is already one sided as there are more import from India rather our meagre exports going there. These lesson should be sufficient India to open their eyes and establish a proper relations on equality basis
pakistani | 6 years ago | Reply @R Thomas: y comparing to india? y not our own land of pure? atleast they are trying what are we? still fighting with radicals
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