The new capital city of Andhra Pradesh will be built around the ancient town of Amaravati, once home to the powerful Satavahana dynasty , a senior minister and highly-placed government sources said.
Dotted with numerous Buddhist relics and a famous stupa erected during emperor Ashoka's time, the ancient town has abundant government land needed to build a new city , revenue department officials said.
With chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu keen on developing a new city on both sides of the Krishna river, officials zoomed in on Amaravati after realising that price of land in Mangalagiri, Babu's earlier choice, was too high.
"Land between Guntur and Vijayawada is fertile and the prices are way too high, so we suggested Amravati and it has been accepted," said a senior government official, privy to the latest decision.
Plans are afoot to link a few mandals in Krishna and Guntur districts, spread on either side of the river, with a six to eight lane bridge between Achampet mandal in Guntur and Nandigama in Krishna district.
Another bridge will also be built between Kanchikacherla in Krishna district and Amravati in Guntur district, officials who are working on the blueprint said.
Not just that, authorities are also mulling to improve connectivity between Vijayawada and the new capital by constructing a bridge between Gollapudi and Mangalagiri.
"The bridge has been sanctioned, and now the work will begin," an official added.
Once the bridges are constructed, the time to travel from Vijayawada and the new capital will be vastly reduced.
Earlier, chief minister Naidu said the capital would be constructed between Vijayawada and Guntur around Mangalagiri.However considering that land acquisition could pose serious problems, with cost hovering around Rs 15 crore per acre, revenue officials zeroed in on Amaravati, located about 35 km northwest of Guntur.
Officials said AP government has 10,929 acres in Amaravati mandal, 16,000 acres in Achampet mandal, and 6,000 acres in Tadikonda. "Work to build the capital will start from Tadikonda. Currently prices in these areas are hovering around Rs 10 to 20 lakh per acre," one official said.
Sources said apart from government land, if required private land will also be acquired. The revenue department is working on the compensation package, in case it acquires additional land. Plans are also underway to link the proposed ring road in Guntur to Nuzivid in Krishna district.
"We are firm about the capital and the location will certainly cover Guntur and Krishna districts. The formal announcement will be made soon," a minister told TOI. Apart from developing the city on both sides of the river, the government is also looking at operating sea planes in the river Krishna.