India Looks to Build 11-Million-Person City on Empty Farm Land

Andhra Pradesh is being split in two, and India is building a new capital for the portion of the state that will keep the Andhra name. The city will reside on what was banana fields and other farmland.
June 13, 2017, 11am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Andhra Pradesh needs a new capital, to replace the one it lost.
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Andhra Pradesh, a state located on the southeastern coast of India, will build a new capital city called Amravati. "By 2035, they projected, [Amravati] would be home to 11 million people and cover 3,322 square miles," Rollo Romig reports for California Sunday. This city will replace Hyderabad, the old capital lost by the state when it was split to create Telangana.

Plans for Amaravati are ambitious and detailed. Romig was shown a model of the coming city that sits on ground that will one day been in Amaravati's center. "The spot we were standing on — which until recently had been a banana farm — lay smack in the middle of the projected finance city," Rollig writes. The city plan has its skeptics: It will need a great deal of capital to build all the infrastructure local officials have planned, and timing the growth of the city may be tricky. If businesses move in too quickly they'll have no customers, but if they're too slow the people who come to the city won't have access to the services they need.

"It’s telling that all the major holidays in the region revolve around farming — precisely the aspect of life that the new city seeks to erase," Rollig observes. Still, the rapidly urbanizing country will see its cities grow somewhere, Andhra Pradesh's officials hope that somewhere is in the hot and fertile land they've carved out for Amravati.

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Published on Monday, May 29, 2017 in California Sunday
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