Amid chanting of Vedic hymns, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday performed 'bhoomi puja' or ground breaking ceremony of the new state capital Amaravathi.As the clock struck 8.49am, Naidu accompanied by his wife Bhuvaneswari and son N. Lokesh performed the rituals at a colourful ceremony in Mandadam village in Guntur district, about 20 km from here.
Central and state ministers, MPs, state legislators, senior officials and leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) participated in prayers and other rituals which continued for two hours.A group of priests had started the prayers, including a 'havan', much earlier as per Vaishnavite tradition at 3 a.m. in the village, located on the banks of Krishna River.Naidu, his family members and ministers poured cement into a pit to mark the ceremony. A basin made with a kilogram of silver and gold coated shovel were among the masonry implements used on the occasion.
The chief minister later ploughed the field with a traditional ploughshare while his wife sowed 'navaratnalu' (nine chief grains) in the soil.Also present were Naidu's brother-in-law and popular actor N. Balakrishna.However, the inauguration of the chief minister's camp office at Vijayawada was postponed as he missed the 'mahurat' or auspicious time of 10.30 a.m. set by astrologers.Naidu could not reach Vijayawada on time due to 'bhoomi puja' rituals.Addressing a public meeting after the ground breaking ceremony, the TDP chief said the day would go down in the history of Andhra Pradesh as a red-letter day.
He said it was good fortune of five crore Telugus that they have got an opportunity to build a 21st century capital.Naidu said it would not be a mere administrative capital but a city which will transform people's live. "It will be a dynamic city, an economic capital which will give jobs to people and a tourism centre."
Naidu said he choose this region for the capital as it was centrally located and accessible from all parts of the state.Singapore has developed the master plan for Amaravathi. The chief minister said leaders of Singapore told him that Andhra capital would be better than even Singapore.Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be invited to lay the foundation stone for the capital on Dussehra.He thanked farmers for giving their land under the land pooling system for building the capital and assured them that the government will protect their interests.Central minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the central government would extend all possible help in developing the capital city. She said nobody should have any doubts on this.