India is building a £12 billion state capital from scratch - but three years later work on the new homes for 11 million people has barely begun
India's £12 billion project to build a modern leafy metropolis with fountains, bridges, gardens and glass skyscrapers to rival Singapore, but three years on little work has begun on the city billed to house 11 million.
The southern capital of Amaravati - which means 'abode of the gods' is little more than empty concrete blocks and cleared agricultural land as its crusaders resort to crowdfunding to turn the pipe dream into reality.
Billions are needed to transform Amaravati from the few new buildings which stand on the periphery of the existing village which is surrounded by thousands of acres of agricultural land into the envisioned capital of Andhra Pradesh, one of India's largest states.
The website for the project proudly boasts there will be more than 8,000 hectares of residential land, a 5,500 hectare industrial quarter which will be surrounded by 1,600 hectares of water features and miles of roads and motorways.
Andhra once had another capital, the booming tech and business powerhouse of Hyderabad, which pulses with IT know-how and a startup culture.
But the revenue-rich city was assigned as the capital of a brand new state, Telangana, when it was carved out of Andhra in 2014 following a populist movement to secede. The two states were to share Hyderabad until Andhra chose another city as its capital.
But authorities decided to build a grand new seat of power some 170 miles away on the banks of the river Krishna.
While India has a tradition of planned cities, including Sir Edwin Lutyens' New Delhi and Chandigarh in the north which was designed by Franco-Swiss modernist trailblazer Le Corbusier, nothing of this scale has been tackled for decades.
Amaravati was envisioned as a metropolis free of the chaos, traffic and air pollution that plagues India's urban centres.
'It'll be an Indian city like no other,' said Sreedhar Cherukuri, commissioner of Andhra's Capital Regional Development Authority.
Amaravati's many millions would enjoy efficient public transport including a monorail and metro network, while trees would shroud half the city with a green zone akin to New York's Central Park, Cherukuri said.
Consultants from Amsterdam provided advice about an extensive canal system and expert opinion was sought from Singapore and Japan, among others.
'Everything has been planned to the last detail. We've taken the best ideas from around two dozen global cities but this perhaps comes closest to Singapore in its inspiration,' Cherukuri said.
However, nearly three years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone, Amaravati is largely deserted.
An island of modern office buildings in the middle of fields hosts Andhra's chief minister and state government, which relocated there after Telangana claimed Hyderabad.
But there is still scant evidence of the promised utopia as it runs severely behind schedule.
Half-finished settlements dot farmlands, most not connected by proper roads and plans for the promised riverfront, housing and public transport have been marred by delays.
'We came here because it really has the plans and potential to become a global city,' said a university official at a huge but largely empty campus in the planned city.
'The on-ground infrastructure development, particularly the roads, has been slow,' he said, asking not to be named.
- Nageshwar, an independent legislator in Telangana, said: 'Nothing much has happened on the ground in Amaravati. It is still more dream than reality.'
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu ambitiously suggested in 2014 that the project - unlike anything ever seen in India - could be completed within five years.
But since then officials have been reluctant to offer a timetable for its completion.
安得拉邦首席部长N Chandrababu Naidu在2014年雄心勃勃地表示，该项目可能在五年内完工，将是印度前所未见的。但自那以后，官员们一直不愿提供完成该项目的时间表。
Naidu, who today governs Andhra from a high-tech office in Amaravati, insists a magnificent city will one day rise from the plains.
'I am not changing any plans for Amaravati. I only have to work harder to make it a reality,' the brainchild of the nascent capital told AFP earlier this year.
Cherukuri, the official overseeing Amaravati's development, said contracts worth £4 billion had been issued, spurring the first phase of development.
It was hoped the project would also attract foreign investment, he added. But funds are running low.
Naidu blamed the national government for reneging on promises made during the Telangana split that would have conferred a special status and ensured a stream of financial aid and incentives to bankroll the dream city.
The dispute soured ties with New Delhi, culminating with Naidu going on a hunger strike in April and severing ties with Modi's ruling party.
'This is a prestigious project for the nation and if government of India had supported it, we could have showcased it to the world,' Naidu said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rejected assertions Andhra was double crossed, saying it got all it was promised.
Naidu remains broadly popular in Andhra but has been accused of pursuing the eye-wateringly extravagant project for personal prestige.
'Naidu very clearly projected Amaravati more as an instrument of electioneering,' said K. Nageshwar, the independent legislator.
Unflagging in optimism, the chief minister declared earlier this year that his new city would be among the happiest in the world, promising a dedicated commission to gauge the wellbeing of its future citizens.
'He can't disown the capital now. I won't be surprised if he's still talking about it in 2019 and 2024 elections.'
'This is all optics and not substantial,' said Nageshwar.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46727.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
AcrossthePond, ex pat, United States, 2 days ago
I presume the broke British taxpayers are paying for this building. For goodness sake, stand up and be counted, and STOP aide going to a Country who DOES NOT need it. Britain needs all the money it can get to help those who live there to live a decent life.
nowexpat, Silves, Portugal, 2 days ago
Nice to see our aid money to this massive economy is at last going into bricks and mortar rather than blasted off into space or invested in aircraft carriers.
Water Glass, Base Cydonia, Canada, 2 days ago
Best of luck.
LisaLAd, London, Morocco, 2 days ago
All made with uk aid money.
James, Sunny Somerset By The Sea, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
So that's where the aid money is going.
Mzungu, Sodden-on-the-Water, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
And we continue to give them aid. Britain truly is a nation of mugs.
James, Surrey, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
Interesting project and I would like to have read about it, but the format is terribly designed and doesn't suit resolutions over 1920x1080. Can you please stop using, or perhaps change, this full width-format?
Tommy Walker, DeplorableOpalis, United States, 2 days ago
If any first world countries are giving aid to India, it must stop immediately.
Tom, Swansea, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
When our Overseas Aid pays to support their poor it frees up money for this, their nuclear and space programs.
YorkshireTyke, Goole, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
Just what the world needs right now, more space for indias population to grow
Brooker, SOUTHAMPTON, 2 days ago
So this is where our aid money goes. Time to stop it
andrew, 2 days ago
Nice with all the aid money hard working up taxpayers fund this with ...
Gar74, Cakovec, Croatia, 2 days ago
The aid money the UK sends with easily cover the costs
enoughsenoughsdotcom, Ellesmere, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
Don't you think its time that we stopped sending financial aid to countries that have more money than we have... and that we actually have to BORROW the money for overseas aid in order to GIVE it to these countries. / / Come on... let them APPLY for aid and only expect to receive it in only as British Goods or British services.
frank 2, Wrexham, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
can anyone explain to me that a country who can afford to build a city from scratch,d have a space program and nuclear weapons needs aid from broken Britain
AndrewRao, Akhand Bharat, India, 2 days ago
the projects didn't take off as the central govt. refused to allot funds to the state for the city despite promising them prior to the elections. As usual politics take an front seat.
kev, nottm, 2 days ago
Nice if you can afford it ,,or someone nice helps you out a little .
itsamess, London, United Kingdom, 2 days ago
I believe the UK supplies some of this money - as aid.