The government of Andhra Pradesh has the daunting task of building a capital city and developing the State from scratch. Its three big cities – Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati – and many other towns have tremendous potential to be nurtured by a futuristic vision and an industrial policy properly synchronized with urban planning.

“It could ideally be transformed into a bustling region like South China, but if such a model of development is to be successfully replicated, growth should be pushed by public-private partnerships and branding without which the world does not look at the fledgling State,” observed N. Sridharan, Director of School of Planning & Architecture (Vijayawada), a Centrally Funded Technical Institution under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Mr. Sridharan suggested that the State devise industrial and urban development polices, which do not work at cross purposes, and that priority be given to putting in place fast modes of transport and connecting national highways with the string of seaports that dot the nearly 1,000 km-long coast.

The State is fortunate to have Asian Highway 45 (it is part of the Great Asian Highway Network connecting India and South East Asian countries) running through its two biggest cities, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, and several other towns. Besides, the development of National Waterway 4 that links A.P, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be of a great advantage to the State.

Mr. Sridharan, who gave a presentation on ‘configuring urban development’ at the just-concluded conference on ‘Responsible Development in a Polycentric World’, organised by European Association of Development Research & Training Institutes at Bonn, said each of the major cities and towns of A.P had its own distinct features, which should have been marketed to their benefit, but that was not done for obvious reasons.

“Inviting global bids for the development of seaports and other infrastructure projects after laying a sound policy framework that does not compromise on transparency will help the government get the world to evince interest in A.P.,” he added.