Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu led a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday to launch Amaravati, the capital city project planned by experts in Singapore.
Construction of the new capital city will start at the end of October around the Hindu festival of Dussehra, he said.
Mr Naidu, along with his family and Cabinet members, poured cement into the ground as part of Hindu rituals and prayers overseen by priests to ensure an auspicious beginning for the project. He also levelled the field with a traditional Indian plough in a symbolic gesture of work.
Dr Parakala Prabhakar, communications adviser to the Andhra Pradesh government, told The Sunday Times yesterday that it marked the "formal beginning of the work for the capital city".
"Construction will start after actual designs of the buildings are done. A master designer is yet to be chosen," he added.
At a public meeting yesterday, Mr Naidu promised that Amaravati would be a "dynamic capital city".
Rising on the banks of the Krishna River between the existing cities of Vijayawada and Guntur, the new capital city is being built from scratch because Andhra Pradesh lost its capital Hyderabad to the new state of Telangana, which was created in June last year.
Hyderabad, which the two states shared for 10 years, geographically falls under the new state.
The master plan for Amaravati, named after an ancient Buddhist city, is being designed in three phases by Singapore companies Surbana International Consultants and Jurong Consultants.
A 7,235 sq km capital regional master plan and a blueprint for a 125 sq km area were delivered in March and May respectively.
A third master plan - the "seed development" for an 8 sq km to 10 sq km project - is expected to be submitted in the middle of next month. The three master plans combined will guide the development of Amaravati till 2050.
Some 13,000ha of land have been acquired from farmers.
Federal Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday promised further federal funding for the project, but did not specify any amount.
This article was first published on June 7, 2015.
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