From Singapore to Amaravati: the battle to build India’s new state capital

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From Singapore to Amaravati: the battle to build India's new state capital
The foundation stone laid by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for the new state capital city of Amaravati / © Sandhya Ravishankar

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From Singapore to Amaravati: the battle to build India's new state capital
The foundation stone laid by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for the new state capital city of Amaravati / © Sandhya Ravishankar

International planners behind the brand new smart city in Andhra Pradesh have come up against angry farmers, disappearing land records and ancient architectural beliefs. Despite these hurdles, is Amaravati still on track?

India’s grand scheme to create brand new “smart cities” along the lines of Singapore has encountered a few local difficulties in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Deep-rooted beliefs about the alignment of buildings, for example – which, according to the traditional Hindu system of Vaasthu Shastra, can bring about good or bad luck – forced the state government to revise its ambitious masterplans for Amaravati, the new state capital being built from scratch there.

“The draft masterplan for Amaravati was prepared by planners from the Singapore government as part of an agreement between the state of Andhra Pradesh and Singapore,” explained Srikant Nagulapalli, commissioner of the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). “But when the first draft arrived, we realised that it would not work.”

According to Nagulapalli: “Global town planning principles do not take Vaasthu into consideration. But the people of Andhra Pradesh have a deep-rooted belief and will not buy any property that is not north- or east-facing. We had to send [the draft plan] back to the master planners and ask them to rework it taking these principles into account. The whole capital city project would have had no buyers if the initial draft had been implemented,” he said. […]

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