HYDERABAD - Minister in the Prime Minister's Office S. Iswaran toured the Guntur-Vijaywada area, where the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh state will be built, as he wrapped up a four-day visit to India yesterday.
Singapore is helping to develop a master plan that will transform swathes of farm and non-farm land into a modern city of high-rise buildings and other amenities.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu told a group of industrialists from the port city of Vizag yesterday that he had taken Mr Iswaran and the Singapore business delegation on a tour in and around the planned capital city area to get a sense of the ground.
Mr Iswaran, who is also Second Minister for Trade and Industry and for Home Affairs, also had an aerial view of the area.
"This visit is an introductory one that will give us a sense of what is possible," he said at the meeting with local industrialists. "The key thing is we need to ensure businesses from Andhra Pradesh can work closely and network closely with businesses in Singapore."
Surbana International Consultants and Jurong International have been chosen to create the master plan for the new capital city.
The southern state of Andhra Pradesh has to build a new capital city from scratch after Hyderabad went to Telangana, the country's newest and 29th state.
Telangana was carved out from Andhra Pradesh by the federal government last year. Andhra Pradesh has been given 10 years to develop a new capital.
Before going to Andhra Pradesh, Mr Iswaran visited Gujarat, home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the biennial Vibrant Gujarat business summit.
Mr Iswaran said the visit to Ahmedabad, Gujarat's capital, and his meeting with Mr Modi provided an "opportunity to get an update" from the Prime Minister, who has initiated reforms and opened up sectors to attract foreign investment.
Singapore was a partner country at the summit.
The visit also allowed him to get a sense from businesses on both sides on "possibilities for collaboration", Mr Iswaran added.
"Within the Indian government's agenda, one key plank is the issue of smart cities. His objective really is to develop new cities and rejuvenate some of the older ones in the way they are governed and managed, creating a better quality of life for people living there. This is an area that plays to our strength," he said.
While Singapore is involved in the capital city project, Mr Iswaran said that some other states have approached the Singapore Government for possible collaboration.
Mr Iswaran did not reveal names but said that Singapore would take on projects according to capacity.
This article was first published on January 14, 2015.
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