On 2 June, India got itself a 29th state. The national government passed legislation to split Andhra Pradesh, a territory on the country’s southwestern coast, into two. The new state of Telangana occupies Andhra Pradesh’s northwestern corner, and contains the state’s capital city, Hyderabad.
Post-bifurcation, the fact the state’s capital is no longer in the state is, as you can imagine, causing some headaches. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act ruled that Hyderabad would be the capital for both states from 2 June, but only for a maximum of 10 years. Essentially, Andhra Pradesh needs to find and build itself a new capital city, and fast.
The new boundaries of Telangana (in white) and Andhra Pradesh (in yellow). Image: Trikly at Wikimedia Commons
Despite rumours published in the Times of India that the Indian government will only allocate a “small sum” for the new capital’s delivery, the state’s Municipal Administration Minister, P. Narayana is thinking big. In July he announced that the State would create a “world class capital” on 25,000-30,000 acres of land. Even more ambitiously, he promised that all new government buildings in the capital would be “green” – well-insulated, powered by renewable energy and built with eco-friendly materials.
The aim would be to reduce energy consumption by two thirds and water usage by a third. The buildings would also, according to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, be designed to reduce the effects of “Sick Building Syndrome”, a horrendous condition in which bad ventilation, chemicals in the air or electromagnetic radiation in a building provokes nauseas, dizziness and “neurotoxic” symptoms.
It’ll be a while before the state government delivers on any of this, however. It’s not even chosen a location for the new city yet, although the committee tasked with choosing one should make their proposals by 30 August.
In the meantime, the Indian press is full of speculation. The Concerned Citizens Forum has come out in favour of Donakonda, a small town in the Prakasam district. But residents of Rayalaseema, the southern part of the state, are expected to demonstrate in Hyderabad on Saturday, to show their support for a more southerly location. Their grumbling harks back to an pact made at the time of the state’s formation in 1937, when it was agreed that their area would host the state capital.
Rayalaseema, incidentally, has its own separatist movement, so if it doesn’t get its way, the region might push for independence. That might mean building yet another capital city.
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