MP Galla takes delight in brand Amaravati

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:08 am IST

Published - October 22, 2015 11:51 am IST - HYDERABAD:

File Photo of Jayadev Galla

File Photo of Jayadev Galla

Right after he won his maiden election to Parliament from Guntur, Jayadev Galla began to pitch for Amaravati as the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. Not because it falls in his constituency, but the ancient town has several positives going for it, such as ideal location and accessibility, but most of all because it’s an irresistible brand.

“Amaravati connects us to an ancient legacy. Every city should have a rich historical and cultural background to evolve as a brand. Amaravati has that brand. I was among several persons who pushed for it and I’ll take some credit for it,” says the business magnate, the scion of the promoters of the Amararaja Group of Companies..

Between attending back-to-back meetings as a member of the capital city advisory group -- while also nursing an injury suffered in a motor bike accident last month -- Mr. Galla spared time to speak to The Hindu from Guntur on Tuesday.

The young MP is furious at reports that the foundation ceremony is to cost the Government Rs. 300 crore to Rs.400 crore. “I can’t imagine where such exaggerated figures are coming from,” he says. “The Government’s expenditure is anywhere from Rs.10 crore to Rs.15 crore. Money for the roads is coming from the regular budget. The rest is being chipped in by individuals. If some guests are coming by helicopter, the Government is certainly not paying for them.”

All the same, Mr. Galla justifies the scale of the event: “We can launch the city only once. We are launching a brand, a new capital for a future population of 10 million. This is big.”

Ask him how confident the Government is of completing a long-haul project like Amaravati, Mr Galla says it can be done in 10 years. “We have cities in China that developed in less than 10 years. If one has a systematic plan, construction time, thanks to technology, can be brought down by 50 per cent. We’ll have government departments working in Amaravati by the next election, and it will be a liveable and economic city within 10 years.”

The Guntur MP believes that the Centre has an obligation to support AP Government in building the capital. “After all bifurcation was not our choice. We were left with no capital and no growth engine. Andhra Pradesh was a performing State before bifurcation. Now the Centre has a choice: support us in building the capital or let us become a burden on it.”

The MP anticipates that the Prime Minister will make a significant announcement on financial assistance to the State to enable it to build Amaravati. We are hoping for some significant announcement from the Prime Minister. The Niti Ayog has already directed all departments to give reports on the pending promises.””

Mr. Galla begs to differ with social activist Medha Patkar’s view that farmers in the capital region are unhappy. “With all due respect, how many farmers did she speak to?” he asks. “Ï have been interacting with farmers regularly and 98 per cent of the people are very happy.””

Disputing Ms. Patkar’s claim that one lakh people have been rendered jobless due to the capital project, Mr. Galla says the figure is closer to 30,000.

But, explains the MP, the present region of Amaravati was already becoming urbanised anyway. The VGTMUDA had already made plans to develop it as a large urgan agglomeration. The capital has only hastened that process, he says.

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