New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu said on Friday he wants to benchmark the new capital of the state Amaravati internationally and wants to make it one of the top five cities in the world.

“We have acquired 34,000 acres of land through land pooling by small farmers without spending a single rupee... Since Amaravati will be a greenfield city, I want to build one of the best. Land is available. Now I want to bring best educational institutions, best hospitals, best hotels, tourism. I want to make it not only an administrative but also an economic city," Naidu said at the India Economic Summit organized by the World Economic Forum.

The city has the advantage of having around 60km of riverfront as the Krishna and Godavari rivers merge at Amaravati. “Water will not be a problem in the city. It is a city full of canals," he said.

Naidu said he is focusing not only on urbanization but also on agriculture. “This year, in the June quarter, farm sector in our state grew at 22.5%, whereas farm output grew at 1.8% nationally," he added.

Speaking at the same session on cities as engines of growth, NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant said India has been a reluctant urbanizer since there was no scheme for urban areas before the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

“We spent all our money in rural areas... they got poorer while migration choked our cities."

Kant said India has to create urban areas two-and-a-half times that of America as 700 million Indians will be living in cities by 2050.

“That is why government has planned for 100 smart cities where the focus will be on innovative and sustainable urbanization," Kant said.

Giving the examples of Gurgaon and Noida, Kant said while the rise in land value in Gurgaon was captured by builders, in Noida it was captured by politicians. “The rising value of land needs to be captured and invested within the cities to build infrastructure," he said.

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