2 S'pore firms to shape Indian state's capital city

2 S'pore firms to shape Indian state's capital city
Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran (R) and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu (L).

Singapore companies Surbana International Consultants and Jurong International will create the masterplan for the new capital city of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, a project that is expected to "establish the Singapore brand in India".

Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announced at a joint press conference yesterday that the two companies would work jointly to give shape to the city, which will be 10 times the size of Singapore.

"Today, it is one more milestone. The detailed action plan will be complete in June," said Mr Naidu.

Mr Iswaran noted that the two companies would bring "market knowledge and professional capabilities" to a project that would raise Singapore's profile in India.

At an interaction with Singapore media earlier, he said that this was a path-breaking project as previous ventures in India have involved IT or industrial parks.

"This gives us an opportunity to come in and establish ourselves in terms of credentials… and capabilities. When you establish Singapore brand in general, that has clear advantage for our companies."

The new capital city is coming up along the river Krishna in the Guntur Vijaywada region of the southern state.

While a large part of the area is currently agricultural land, the plan is to build a modern state capital combining green spaces with high-rise buildings to accommodate a population of 1.25 million people.

So far, 10 per cent of the land required for the capital city has been acquired, said Andhra government officials.

The state of Andhra Pradesh is embarking on building a new capital city after it lost its current capital Hyderabad, an IT hub which is home to companies such as Google and Microsoft, to the newly created state of Telangana.

The new state was carved out of Andhra Pradesh by the federal government last year and a decision was taken that Hyderabad would be shared by the two states for 10 years, during which Andhra Pradesh would create its own capital city.

Mr Pang Yee Ean, chief executive officer of Surbana, called the project "a once-in-a-lifetime project to develop a capital from scratch".

Dr Uma Maheshwaran, chief executive officer of Jurong Consultants (India), called it a "special project".

For the capital city project, the two companies are developing the masterplan in three stages, including a masterplan for 7,325 sq km of a state capital region.

In the first stage, a land use masterplan will be produced, marking commercial, residential, transport and other infrastructure facilities.

In the second, the two companies will propose a Capital City Masterplan, which will go into greater details for an area spanning more than 220 sq km.

And in the third, they will develop the core of the capital, which will be a little bigger than an HDB town, said Mr Khoo Teng Chye, executive director of the Centre for Liveable Cities, which is going to train 20 officials of the Andhra Pradesh government in areas of urban planning from Jan 19 to 24.

While Singapore is crafting the masterplan, other countries such as Japan have also expressed an interest in developing the new capital.

Mr Iswaran was accompanied by a 25-member business delegation of Singapore firms from the urban solutions, infocomm technology and construction sectors.

This article was first published on January 13, 2015.
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