Its prospects multiply with the proposed Eastern Corridor project

In the event of the bifurcation of the State, Vijayawada–Guntur–Tenali-Mangalagiri (VGTM) region will be the ideal location for the setting up of the new capital of Seemandhra, says School of Planning and Architecture (SPAV-Vijayawada) Director N. Sridharan.

In an exclusive chat with The Hindu, he said though it was too early to talk about it, as an agitation is on to keep the State intact, which will be the first option, if bifurcation becomes necessity, the VGTM area will be the most ideal location for State capital.”

He said the VGTM area has got its own strengths, but keeping in view the proposed Eastern Corridor project, its prospects get multiplied. The Eastern Corridor a futuristic project mooted by the Ministry of Finance is similar to the Delhi-Mumbai or Chennai-Mumbai corridors. The Eastern Corridor aims to connect Myanmar to Sri Lanka through the entire stretch of east and southern parts of India.

Mr. Sridharan, who had been associated with the planning of the new capital cities - Ranchi and Raipur and given the project to prepare a draft plan for VGTM by the Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said apart from an expressway running parallel to the National Highway and the Golden Quadrilateral, the corridor will facilitate the setting up of exclusive economic zones along the route covering almost all sectors including fisheries and agro-industry.”

He said the corridor would touch 10 States and 72 districts and was likely to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “The corridor will cover 60 major and minor ports along the coast and it proposes to maximise the use of inland waterways, which have been neglected so far. This will greatly enhance the importance of the hinterland of the VGTM area,” he said.

Survey

He told The Hindu that the talks with the ADB were in the preliminary stage and a high-level delegation from the bank was expected to visit Vijayawada for a preliminary survey and a seminar will be conducted in the third week of November.

Highlighting the strengths of the VGTM area, the senior architect and planner said the area was centrally located and was well connected with all modes of transport such as air, rail, road and water. He said, “entrepreneurship in this region is very strong, water resource are available and skilled labour force is abundant. It is an educational and medical hub, the culture is strong, there is presence of urban agriculture, it is a rice belt and it has good tourist potential.”

On the availability of land for a capital city, Mr. Sridharan said land was abundant but it needs to be identified. “We should promote vertical growth. The land usage was much better in vertical growth than a horizontal one. What’s wrong in having a clean and green city with high-rise buildings like Singapore?,” he asked.

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