It’s curtains for Amaravati’s ambitious start-up area project

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on November 12, 2019

A file picture of the Amaravati master plan model   -  T_VIJAYA_KUMAR

AP government, consortium of Singapore firms call off the project with mutual consent

After a few months of suspense over its fate, the curtains have finally come down on the ‘Amaravati Capital City Start-Up Area Project’, in Andhra Pradesh.

The State Government and a Singapore consortium have agreed to call off the project with mutual consent.

The ambitious, multi-billion-dollar Amaravati Capital city, of which the present project is a part, was the ‘dream initiative’ of former Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

There was a question mark over the project ever since the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government came to power in June.

Consequently, the Andhra Pradesh government raised concerns and queries to the Singapore consortium (consisting of Ascendas Singbridge and Sembcorp Development Ltd) and the Singapore government over the project.

Ultimately, it issued a Government Order, dated November 11, announcing its closure.

In a statement today, Singapore Minister in charge of Trade Relations S Iswaran said: “The Singapore Consortium was appointed by the Govt of AP in 2017 to help master develop the 6.84 sq km Start Up Area of the new capital of Amaravati. We note that the new govt has decided not to proceed with the project given its other priorities for the State”.

‘Concerns not addressed’

Speaking in Vijayawada today, Andhra Pradesh Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development Botsa Satyanarayana said: “The Singapore Consortium has closed the Amaravati Capital City Start-up Area project with AP after the government could not get a convincing reply on the genuine concerns of the State”.

The Minister said there was no satisfactory answer to the concerns raised.

There was no progress in the required measure and set parameters in the capital area region. “Our concerns were expressed when we asked the Singapore Consortium about the benefits the State would get out of the project and why there was a delay in the project.”

The work had not gathered the desired pace in the start-up area and other basic formalities were not completed, which was of great concern to the Andhra Prasesh government, he added.

The project aimed to develop an area of 20 sq km within the seed capital area, along the Krishna riverfront.

Spread over 684 hectares, it was to be developed in phases over 10-15 years, with former chief minister Naidu describing it as a self-financing project.

Singapore firms still keen

Despite the setback due to the closure of the Project, Singapore companies will remain interested in opportunities in the State and other Indian States because of the size and potential of the market, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore.

The Singapore consortium has stated that while the project cost them a few million dollars, the closure did not impact their investment plans in India.

Companies do recognise such risks when venturing into any overseas market and factor them into their decision-making process, the statement said.

The World Bank, too, had pulled out of a proposed development project in the Capital Region a few months ago.

Published on November 12, 2019

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