Strategic location, cultural affinity put the mandal headquarters ahead in the race, feels political leaders.Some of the leaders also advocate for the development model being followed in Madhya Pradesh for the Seemandhra.

The sleepy mandal headquarters of Donakonda in Prakasam district where the Britishers had set up an aerodrome for fuelling fighter planes during the World War II for its strategic location is again in the limelight now.

The backward mandal headquarters in Kandukur division, about 75 km away from here, is in the hot race for the capital of the residuary State as it is placed centrally and for its cultural affinity to the Rayalaseema region and the coastal Andhra as well. Leaders of major political parties and people’s organisations also find Donakonda as a viable option for the capital of the residuary State.

“This is an ideal place to develop the new capital on the lines of Raipur,” a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader says who visited Donakonda recently for making an assessment. However, he bats for the need for balanced development in the region, adding that the authorities concerned must take a lesson from the Hyderabad-centric development and similar move could be proved a bane for the Seemandhra.

Some of the leaders also advocate for the development model being followed in Madhya Pradesh for the Seemandhra. “The party is toying with the idea of implementing Madhya Pradesh model of development where the political capital is located in Bhopal and the High court at Jabalpur. Indore has also grown into a major commercial city while Ujjain attracts a lot of tourists,” BJP national executive committee member K. Shanta Reddy told to The Hindu.

Listing out the advantages of Donakonda, a local Lok Satta Party leader Sk. Nawab said: “Over 54,000 acres of government land is available for developing the infrastructure needed for the State capital. Away from seismic zone, it is a very safe place so far flood is concerned,” he points out.

Water supply

Pondering over the available options to ensure adequate water supply to Dondakonda, former Sarpanch Maqbul Ahamad says: “Water could be easily drawn to the mandal headquarters from the Krishna river at Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar, which are 100 km away.” “Further, Veligonda project, designed to draw Krishna water through two tunnels, is also set for completion in a couple of years,” adds local YSRC leader K. Krishna Reddy, adding that the supply can also be augmented by Gundalakamma river.

Connectivity matters

Forum for Good Governance secretary Shamsheer Ahamad highlights the connectivity factor. “Donakonda which is on the Guntur-Bangaluru rail route can be easily converted into a major railway junction to ensure connectivity to all important places in Seemandhra and the dysfunctional loco shed can also be put to use,” he points out.

High five for realtors

As the debate in favour of Donakonda is gaining ground, the realty sector in its surrounding area has seen a major boost. “The land price has shoot up to an unimaginably high. The value of land which was Rs.10,000 to Rs. 20,000 a couple of year ago has gone up to Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh per acre in the area. Non-locals have even given the advance amounts for purchase and are waiting for getting positive indications from the key politicians before striking the deals,” says Krishna Reddy, a realtor.