IN ONE of its most ambitious urban planning ventures to date, Singapore will help design and develop a world-class city area in southern India. The city, which will sprout across an area where 17 villages currently sit, will serve as the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, whose Chief Minister has tried to make the state an IT hub.
The state is poised to lose current capital Hyderabad after the province was split earlier this year. It has asked Singapore to help it build a spanking new one.
The development, the single largest infrastructure project attempted by Singapore in India, will take shape in three or more stages. There will be a master plan for 7,325 sq km of a state capital region - 10 times Singapore's own size. The project will have a 125 sq km core and an 8 sq km development where Singaporean companies will build up utilities.
An agreement was signed yesterday between International Enterprise Singapore and the Infrastructure Corporation of the Andhra Pradesh government to prepare the masterplan and develop the new city.
Singapore will also train Indian government officials in urban development and governance.
"Singapore is delighted to be Andhra Pradesh's partner in masterplanning and developing its new capital city and surrounding region. A good masterplan lays a strong foundation, and its effective implementation, beginning with the seed development, will ensure the city develops sustainably into a vibrant political, economic and cultural centre of the state," said Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry.
He was speaking in Hyderabad after witnessing the signing of the agreement, alongside Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister M. Chandrababu Naidu.
The two sides plan to complete the masterplan within six months and Mr Naidu promised a "world- class capital" with uninterrupted power and modern amenities.
Andhra Pradesh is developing a new capital city, which is expected to cost 1 trillion rupees (S$21.4 billion), after it was bifurcated in June this year and a new state, Telangana, carved out from it.
Hyderabad, among the top 10 Indian cities, will remain a joint capital but eventually go to Telangana after 10 years.
Mr Naidu was chief minister of the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh for over a decade starting in 1995. He put Hyderabad on the global IT map, inviting software majors like Microsoft to set up development facilities.
Ties between Singapore and the state of Andhra Pradesh have continued to be strong, with Mr Naidu travelling to Singapore in November this year to get a first-hand look at the development model and urban planning and governance expertise.
As a part of the plan announced last night, the Centre for Liveable Cities and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise will also help Andhra Pradesh by providing training programmes for officials of the state government.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission