ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

C RamachandraiahSubscribe to C Ramachandraiah

Making of Amaravati

This paper examines Amaravati, the proposed greenfield capital of the bifurcated Andhra Pradesh state, against the backdrop of the rise of urban mega-projects across Asia, and the tendencies towards land speculation they have unleashed in Indian cities. It offers a critique of the land pooling mechanisms as they have played out on the ground in the affected villages. It argues that voluntary land pooling on such a large scale has been made possible through a coordinated use of coercive tactics and legal measures, including the land ordinance of the Government of India, which was re-promulgated three times and provided a credible fallback in the AP government's dealings with farmers. Land pooling also facilitated a regime of co-option with absentee landowners aligning, on caste lines, with the ruling party.

Andhra Pradesh's Master Plan for Its New Capital

Amaravati, the planned new capital of Andhra Pradesh, is to be set up in a highly fertile, multi-cropped area in the Guntur-Krishna belt where the water table is just 15 to 20 feet below the surface. The Government of Andhra Pradesh has been aggressively pursuing land pooling through a series of not-too-friendly measures to acquire land for the capital which will be located in a low- to medium-risk flood area. Where the Singapore consultancy's master plan for the new city, Amaravati, falters is in not visualising the need to accommodate low-income residents and the informal sector in the new capital, and in its exaggerated projections of employment generation in the information technology sector.

A Superfi cial Picture

Metro Rail Projects in India: A Study in Project Planning by M Ramachandran (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2012; pp xvi+195, Rs 495.

YSR 'Shock Deaths' in Andhra

Over 450 people were reported to have died of "shock" following the death of Andhra Pradesh chief minister, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. While the high-pitched media coverage may have contributed to some of these deaths, it also appears likely that eager Congress workers gave money to poor people asking them to claim that the natural deaths of members of their respective families were due to "shock" at the death of YSR. This was a cynical move to pressurise the Congress leadership to make his son, Jaganmohan Reddy, the chief minister.

Continuing Favours to Raju-Maytas Company

Maytas Metro Limited (MML), the company floated by Maytas Infra (which in turn was established by the Raju family, formerly of Satyam Computers) to construct and run the Hyderabad metro rail has not achieved financial closure (FC) and provided a bank guarantee as per the concession agreement (CA)...

On Metro Rail Systems

The article ‘Mythologies, Metro Rail Systems and Future Urban Transport’ by Dinesh Mohan (January 26) is timely and one hopes that some good sense prevails among Indian policymakers on urban transport. Indian cities should go for Bus Rapid Transit Systems and make our cities safe for walking and...

Public Transport Options in Hyderabad

A city like Hyderabad, which has a high-density road network, with no proper footpaths, with buildings located on main roads, and with a high prevalence of informal activities doesn't need an elevated metro running through the heart of the city, but a modified version of a bus rapid transport system.

Hyderabad`s Floods: Nature`s Revenge

Frequent encroachments on lakebeds, an inadequate drainage system and lack of storm water drains have made Hyderabad vulnerable to floods even with limited rainfall. A lackadaisical attitude of the authorities and corruption at the local level have contributed to the city's woes. Reclamation of catchments and dried up tanks seem to be the solution if the city is to be saved from a Mumbai-like disaster.

Information Technology and Social Development

The IT industry in Andhra Pradesh has several advantages with a large pool of scientific manpower and a proactive state government. Software exports have grown impressively in the last decade and IT-enabled services are likely to play a significant role in the creation of employment opportunities. The basic challenges lie in improving the social sectors such as education, health, etc, and developing the infrastructure. If these problems are not tackled on a priority basis, the fast-growing IT sector will leave the majority of the population behind, leading to a more polarised society.

Drinking Water as a Fundamental Right

The recent landmark judgment by the Supreme Court, placing drinking water as a fundamental right should serve as a stern warning to the politician-bureaucrat nexus who have in recent years turned a blind eye to the growing pollution of Indian rivers. That the court too has sided with the people, and should help in initiating a debate on a crucial issue that has serious implications for the continued health and well-being of most citizens.

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