Hyderabad: Nearly five years after the state’s bifurcation, chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday morning laid the foundation stone for Andhra Pradesh’s new government office complex in Amaravati, the state’s new capital. The complex will house the state secretariat, assembly and high court, besides a host of government departments.

The Amaravati capital region is being built across parts of the metropolitan areas of Guntur and Vijayawada. The government office complex will be constructed at the Rayapudi village of Guntur district.

There were several delays along the way due to several changes in the design of the main buildings, including the high court and state assembly.

“The secretariat complex will be constructed on 41 acres to accommodate 145 departments and enable better efficiency in work flow and interaction between different departments. The built-in area is around 56 lakh sq. feet, with a 1.3 lakh sq. feet parking facility, which can accommodate 4,000 cars," said Naidu.

British architecture firm Foster and Partners was appointed as the master architect for Amaravati. AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) has been tasked with building the government township.

In 2017, the state government had said that the AP high court will resemble a Buddhist stupa while the legislative assembly will be built after the Kohinoor diamond. Accordingly, the British firm had submitted the designs of the two buildings, but the idea was later junked.

“The new capital will have five main towers, housing important buildings such as the secretariat and high court," said an AP CRDA executive, requesting anonymity. The final designs for the five towers were finalized about two months ago by Naidu. “The designs were changed to include the local Pedana Kalamkari design, which represents the local craft of the Krishna district. The internal designs will have the artwork," he added.

The AP government had announced plans to build a new capital after the state’s bifurcation from Telangana, and began shifting to Amaravati from mid-2015, but with little infrastructure. As of now, the secretariat, assembly and the state departments are functioning from a temporary complex comprising five buildings at Velagapudi village.

Amaravati’s core city area is being built over 217 sq.km, while the entire capital region will spread across of 8,603 sq. km. Of the 58,000 acres land required to build the twonship, about 36,000 acres are private-held agricultural land. Around 33,000 acres have already been acquired, while the rest is government land.

Thanking the farmers for their “generous attitude" in offering land for the capital’s development, Naidu said that the secretariat and the government head of departments (HOD) complex will comprise the five tallest towers that will be built in the country. “Four of them will have 40 storeys and the fifth one will have 50 storeys, and will be the tallest one at 225 meters."

Just days before, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief and main opposition leader Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had criticized the AP government for not constructing a single permanent building in the new capital.

According to the website of Foster and Partners, Amaravati’s designs have been “inspired by Lutyens’ New Delhi and New York’s Central Park, a clearly defined green spine runs through its length, providing the foundation of the master plan’s environmental strategy, where at least 60% of the area is occupied by greenery or water". The designs have also been made to align closely with Vaastu principles.

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