Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for Amaravati. © Channel Newsasia
Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for Amaravati. © Channel Newsasia

Hyderabad: Japan will extend financial assistance and technical expertise to help build Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh’s brand new capital, on the banks of the river Krishna. This will be the first instance of a foreign government coming forward to help build an Indian state capital after the country’s independence.

The announcement came on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new capital at a ceremony which was also attended by K. Chandrashekar Rao, the chief minister of Telangana, which was carved out of Andhra Pradesh last year as India’s 29th state.

Rao and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu have been bitter rivals. Rao, who attended the ceremony after Naidu visited his residence to invite him, said he hoped Amaravati would become a world-class city.

Besides Japan, Singapore, which has developed masterplans for Amaravati, has also joined hands with Andhra Pradesh to help develop the newest state capital in the country.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Andhra Pradesh’s finance department signed on Thursday, hours before the foundation ceremony, an in-principle agreement for developing the capital and industry.

Japan will cooperate in the development of industrial clusters, public infrastructure, intelligent transport systems, and a comprehensive energy management system.

The country has also offered to plan and develop transportation and related facilities in the capital region. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will offer technical assistance.

“We from Japan understand what great effort it takes to make a new city… All our experience, all our technology and our good wishes are here to help the people of Amaravati make this a beautiful city,” Yosuke Takagi, state minister of Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry, said.

“Our wish is to be part of the story from the beginning and we are here with our friendship and our efforts.”

Japan, the only country to suffer a nuclear attack, had to rebuild its cities in the aftermath of World War II and revive its economy.

The world’s third biggest economy will share its technological expertise in rebuilding cities to construct the new capital, Takagi said in a speech translated from Japanese.

“Asia Pacific region has the potential for becoming the growth engine for the entire global economy. This great state of Andhra Pradesh is poised to be the gateway for Asia Pacific and the Indian ocean region,” Takagi said.

Japan and Andhra Pradesh have agreed to set up an investment task force in Japan to fast-track industrial development in the southern Indian state. The task force will include ministers and officials from both countries.

In future, Japan also plans to help develop metro rail networks in the state, including the one proposed for Vijayawada city, according to the terms of the agreement provided by the state government.

Andhra Pradesh is building a capital from scratch as it tries to revive the economy following its bifurcation from Telangana. The state has till 2024 to build its capital before the current joint capital, Hyderabad, is transferred to Telangana.

The commitments of assistance from Japan and Singapore come after efforts by chief minister Naidu to involve the two Asian countries in capital building efforts.

Amaravati will contain nine “cities” within it, Naidu said. The city-zones will house administrative, justice, education, health, hardware and electronics, entertainment, sports and tourism among others.

Seven regional centres and seven development corridors will also come up in the capital region that will have the world’s biggest outer ring road (210 km long).

The Union government, which sanctioned Rs.1,850 crore in three phases for the new capital, will stand by Andhra Pradesh as it builds one of the most modern capitals in India, Modi said.