Sandwiched between the two metropolitan cities of Chennai and Bangalore, Tirupati is touted to be ideal for IT and manufacturing industries

The spiritual hub of Tirupati does not want to be left behind in the race for the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Politicians, academics and intellectuals give an overwhelming ‘aye’ to the City of Seven Hills, as Tirupati has always determined the State’s political course of action.

Sandwiched between the two metropolitan cities of Chennai and Bangalore, Tirupati is touted to be ideal for IT and manufacturing industries. The government has even focused on Chittoor district, for, it forms part of the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor. The NTPC-BHEL Power Project and Sri City SEZ are the game-changers that are soon set to bring Tirupati on the State’s industrial face. Apart from Krishnapatnam, the Centre is considering Dugarajupatnam as a second port, which will further boost industrialisation.

Though located in Rayalaseema, the district has remained fairly insulated from faction feuds. The thorough blend of Telugu, Tamil and Kannada cultures in the district gives it a cosmopolitan outlook, albeit at the micro level.

“Similarly, the city has an impeccable record vis-à-vis violence from Left wing extremism, religious fundamentalism or gang wars”, observes social worker S. Raghupathi. In his letter flashed to the Prime Minister, he pointed out that the new capital could be built in the golden quadrangle encompassing Renigunta, Venkatagiri, Gudur and Sri City, where 15000 acres of land is available.

“This was the place chosen by Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu when Andhra got separated from Madras”, he recalled. Apart from being the state’s cultural nerve centre, Tirupati is also an educational hub with seven universities.

Apart from Hyderabad, only Tirupati has an international airport. Thanks to the burgeoning travel and hospitality sectors, it accounts for a huge chunk of passengers and a lion’s share of revenue, as acknowledged by APSRTC, Railways and air travel agencies. Tirupati has direct train connectivity not only to the four metros, but areas from Jammu Tawi to Kanyakumari.

For the argument that it is far away (700km) from Vizag, so is Chennai from Kanyakumari (700km), Mumbai from Nanded (650km) and Bangalore from Bidar (700km), says a senior legislator from the district. “A common man does not visit the capital frequently and if required, he can club it with Tirumala visit, which fulfills his pilgrimage too”, academic-turned-activist Bhuman Subramanyam Reddy reasons. ‘As the abode of Lord Venkateswara, this option will satisfy all districts’, is the prevailing public opinion.