Sunday, October 25, 2015

Foundation Laying Ceremony of Amaravati, The People's Capital, of Andhra Pradesh

Note: I felt it appropriate to copy-paste this post contents from my miscellaneous blog post, http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2015/10/foundation-laying-ceremony-of-amaravati.html.
I think the challenges faced by the Andhra Pradesh govt. after bifurcation of erstwhile unified Andhra Pradesh into Telangana (which got the jewel of Hyderabad in terms of revenue) and residual Andhra Pradesh (which has no big revenue generation city), are enormous and unparalleled in whatever I have seen or read about in my life in mainland India as an adult (or even as a boy) over the past four to five decades. That Hon'ble AP Chief Minister (CM) Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._Chandrababu_Naidu, and his team have courageously taken on this challenge and are doing everything they can to make it a great opportunity, is wonderful and inspiring. I pray to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to shower His Grace on these efforts of AP CM N. Chandrababu Naidu and team, including those from the central govt. of India, govts. of Singapore & Japan, and private and public companies involved in this HUGE task of building a 21st century state capital city from scratch.

The Foundation laying ceremony event for the new capital Amaravati, The People's Capital, held on 22nd Oct. 2015, gave me a lot of information about what the AP govt. has achieved so far along with the help of the central govt. under Hon'ble Prime Minister (PM) Shri Narendra Modi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi, as well as from others like the govt. of Singapore. Further, this is a unique kind of event in India, in my lifetime so far. A state capital city is being created from scratch! And as I now am a regular Andhra Pradesh citizen who has lived in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh (AP) from Oct. 2002 onwards, (and who votes in municipal, state and union govt. elections as an AP citizen), I thought I can do a small service to the Andhra Pradesh state where I live, by capturing some of this foundation laying ceremony/event in this post. [Prior to moving to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002, I spent most of the earlier four decades of my life in and around Mumbai/Bombay where I was born, raised and made a living (including many years in Dombivli on the outskirts of Mumbai).]

First some pictures of the event captured from a youtube video of the event:


Above: AP CM Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu handing over Foundation Yantram to PM Shri Narendra Modi


Above: Dignitaries touching Foundation Yantram


Above: PM Modi and pundits laying Foundation Yantram


Above pic: PM Modi and pundits laying Foundation Yantram


Above: Immediately after unveiling of Foundation Plaque by PM Modi


Above: Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao graciously accepting bouquet from AP CM N. Chandrababu Naidu
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Here's the FULL video of new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, The People's Capital - Foundation laying ceremony, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs, 5 hrs. 43 min. 5 secs, streamed live on Oct. 22nd 2015.

Clips of the above video with timestamps and description are given below.

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2:43:20 to 3:00:00
[video link starting at 2:43:20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=9800]

Minister of AP cabinet and Puttaparthi MLA Dr. Palle Raghunatha Reddy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palle_Raghunatha_Reddy, speaks. Followed by prayers from leaders/priests from various faiths with Dr. Palle Raghunatha Reddy being with them. The prayers are from Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist faiths. This is followed by blowing of conch shells.

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3:49:30 to 3:58:50
[video link starting at 3:49:30, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=13770]

Dignitaries coming out of vehicles and entering Amaravati gallery/pavillion: Hon'ble PM Shri Narendra Modi, Hon'ble Union Minister Shri Venkaiah Naidu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venkaiah_Naidu), His Excellency Governor of AP & Telangana, Shri E.S.L. Narasimhan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._S._L._Narasimhan), Hon'ble AP CM Chandrababu Naidu, Hon'ble Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalvakuntla_Chandrashekar_Rao) and others.

Family members of AP CM spending a few moments with PM.

A tour of the pavilion which has a 3D city model of Amaravati as (seemingly) the center piece.

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4:00:15 to 4:09:30
[video link starting at 4:00:15, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=14415]

PM & other dignitaries participate in Yagnam (Shankusthapana, Poornahuthi)

The Foundation Yantram laying ceremony.

Elderly Pandit blessing all dignitaries including Singapore minister Shri Iswaran (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._Iswaran), AP High Court Chief Justice Shri Bhosale, and Supreme Court Justice Shri Ramana (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._V._Ramana). The minister from Japan, Mr. Yosuke Takagi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C5%8Dsuke_Takagi), is also present on the stage. [Note that Japan and Singapore seem to be playing significant roles in the planning stage for Amaravati, and are expected to do the same in building Amaravati.]

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4:11:00 to 4:12:25
[video link starting at 4:11:00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15060]

PM Modi unveiling the Foundation Plaque

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4:16:07 to 4:16:25
[video link starting at 4:16:07, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15367]

AP CM N.C. Naidu offering bouquet to Telangana CM K.C. Rao which the latter accepts very graciously. Telangana CM K.C. Rao then waves to the crowd, some of whom wave back.

[Ravi: What an extraordinary and very pleasing to the heart this sight is! I think this is the first time that Telangana CM K.C. Rao has visited Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation. How high the passions were running in the years leading up to bifurcation! How many lives have been lost! I congratulate these two chief ministers for publicly coming together for this foundation laying ceremony for new capital of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, and sending a very clear message to the citizens of both the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, that it is time to bury the hatchet and work together in peace and harmony for mutual development. Really great of AP CM Naidu to have gone out of his way to invite Telanagana CM K.C. Rao, and very gracious of Telangana CM K.C. Rao to have accepted the invitation and been so gracious in this ceremony (he also spoke at this ceremony later on).]

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4:20:20 to 4:22:00
[video link starting at 4:20:20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15620]

PM Modi hands over neelu (water) and matti (soil) from Parliament Bhavan (House) in New Delhi to AP CM Naidu to add to the soil & water of many holy and revered places in the country being added to the soil & water of the new capital, Amaravati.

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4:22:20 to 4:28:14
[video link starting at 4:22:20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15740]

Japanese minister for Economy, Trade & Industry, Yosuke Takagi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C5%8Dsuke_Takagi, speaks (in Japanese, translated to English by a translator) He refers to Buddhist legacy of this place and that the Japanese study in their textbooks about the great Buddhist teacher/scholar Nagarjuna having visited this place, and that it is a matter of great pride and honour for him to be present here.
Some extracts from his speech:

To the dear people of Andhra Pradesh, today I stand here as a representative of Japan and I can see for myself that tremendous efforts have gone into making this event such a grand affair and such a success. Please convey my word of appreciation for all the effort that has been taken. Thank you.
We in Japan have learned from our young days that this great land of Amaravati was a great seat of learning for Buddhism right from the 3rd century BC and here is where the seed of the Japanese nation's culture and values have emerged. In our textbooks we learn that Nagarjuna visited the city. For me to be standing here at this great spot today is a matter of great pride and honour.

I have had the good honour to see many of the Buddhist sculptures and stupas that have been excavated from around this area. It makes us realize not only what great beauty people had, what great faith, but also what great technology. For me to be standing here makes me feel a sense of respect for the people of this place.

Once again as a Japanese I have the good fortune to stand on the sacred land which is once again set to become a vibrant centre and a great city. This time in history, Japan is here to lend a helping hand. Our experience in technology is here to contribute to this great city. This in Buddhism we call (en?) and this in Hinduism we call Sanjog. This is Sanjog.

We from Japan understand what great efforts it takes to make a new city. We remember from World War II, from the burning fields, how we created a new nation all out of nothing. All our experience, all our technology and our good wishes are here to help the people of Amaravati make this beautiful and wonderful city. Our wish is to be part of the story from the beginning. And we are here (with) our friendship and (our efforts).

The 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. I believe it has the potential to be the centre of what can be called the Asia-Pacific ocean region and to be the center and the hub of this place.

With the backdrop of our historical and cultural ties, the two great nations of Japan and India are once again poised - the largest and the oldest democracy in Asia both will show leadership under a legal framework .... The starting of this new capital and our co-operation is a symbol of the great possibilities between these two nations.

I close my speech today with my hope that this new city of Amaravati will prosper and grow for eternity in (continuance) with the flourishing of Asia. Thank you very much. Our heartiest congratulations on this (felicitous) occasion.

--- end Japanese minister's speech ---

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4:28:45 to 4:34:42
[video link starting at 4:28:45, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16125]

Mr. Iswaran, minister of Trade and Industry of Singapore, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._Iswaran, speaks (in English). Extracts from his speech:

I am delighted to join all of you today in celebrating Vijayadashami and also deeply honoured to represent Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the government and people of Singapore to witness this special ceremony to mark the beginning of Andhra Pradesh's new capital city, Amaravati. Singapore is honoured and privileged to be able to play a part in Amaravati's evolving story. One year ago, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu visited Singapore and shared with us his inspiring vision for Andhra Pradesh and Amaravati. He wanted Andhra to have a world class capital city, a people's capital offering jobs and opportunities for a better life; dynamic, vibrant and highly livable city that is environmentally sustainable and respects the rich culture and heritage of the people of Andhra Pradesh. Chief minister Naidu visited Singapore and he invited us to partner him and his team to turn this vision into reality, and we readily agreed.

Because India and Singapore are very close partners; because the chief minister is an old friend of Singapore; and also because, this is an opportunity for us from Singapore to share with India and with Andhra Pradesh our experience in urban development to contribute to a meaningful and transformative effort in India. Prime Minister Modi as part of his vision .. urbanization has been identified (as) one of the key priority areas for a rising India today. His smart cities, Amrut and Swacchh Bharat initiatives to develop hundred smart cities and rejuvenate another five hundred have a profound impact - they will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of Indian citizens and it will make the urban and rural areas of India highly livable.

With this in mind, Prime Minister Modi welcomed (and supported the partnership of) Singapore with Andhra Pradesh in Amaravati's development when our emeritus senior minister Goh Chok Tong and I met him last year in Delhi, and we are deeply grateful for his support and encouragement.
...
Chief Minister, Singapore stands ready to partner with you and your citizens and your team of officials and minsters as well as the government of India to contribute and share our expertise for the next stage of Amaravati's development.

Finally, on behalf of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore and the government and people of Singapore, I want to offer our congratulations and best wishes to Prime Minister Modi, Chief Minister Naidu and all the people of Andhra Pradesh as you lay the foundation stone for your new capital city. May Amaravati fulfill its destiny as the city that lives for ever and grows to be the pride and joy of all Andhra people.

Namaskaram. Thank you.
--- end extracts from Singapore minister Iswaran's speech ---

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4:35:00 to 4:37:18
[video link starting at 4:35:00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16500]

Telangana CM K.Chandrashekar Rao speaks (in Telugu)

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4:37:40 to 4:41:30
[video link starting at 4:37:40, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16660]

Union minister Shri Venkaiah Naidu speaks (in Telugu)

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4:42:00 to 5:02:03
[video link starting at 4:42:00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16920]

AP CM Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._Chandrababu_Naidu, speaks (in Telugu mostly but some English too)

He welcomed everybody and thanked everybody. He particularly thanked the farmers who have given their lands for building the capital city.

He said that sacred soil and water from all holy sites from all over the state and some other places too, had been brought to the Capital city, Amaravati.

An extract from his speech (English part)
Now I am requesting honourable Prime Minister sir, yesterday we have spread all sacred soil and also water throughout capital. With your hands (referring to PM Modi) you have laid the foundation today. It is a very, very powerful soil now. We wanted to make it powerful soil and also (a) very attractive place. Now, you are here. Automatically, all over the world, people are watching (this event). I don't have any doubt (that) anything you start will be successful. Even Amaravati will be (grandly) successful. That is what I am expecting (and) people are wishing. [PM Modi applauds.]

Sir, there is a history for this city. ... There is a very good Vaastu also. .. Name (is) also Amaravati, (a) very pleasant name. When we announced (the name) Amaravati, everybody is saying it is (an) excellent name. Now there is people support. Above all this (support from) all Gods, either Hindu God, Muslim God or Christian Gods, everybody is blessing. Sir, even the Muhurtham [Ravi: auspicious time] is the best Muhurtham. You have come all the way from Delhi, that too (on) VijayaDashami day. It is a rare opportunity. It is the best lagnam.
...
Under your leadership [Ravi: refering to PM Modi], I am confident we will build world's best capital, that is people's capital, in Amaravati.
---end English extract ---

He (AP CM Mr. Naidu) thanked the PM Modi for financial help rendered (so far).

He mentioned that he had approached Singapore govt. for help in preparing a master plan for the capital city and that they responded very well and very quickly. People of AP should be thankful to the govt. of Singapore for this help they have rendered.

He said that similarly the Japanese govt. has come forward to help in making the capital city.

He thanked PM for various help rendered to AP (after bifurcation).

Another extract of English part of speech:

Sir, we are all thankful to you. For the last sixteen months you have done extremely well. We have taken some benefits from central government, sir. You know the pains of bifurcation. We are having so many problems. Even in the bifurcation act there are some provisions and also in the parliament they have announced special package. Also, we are requesting only one thing from you. There are neighbouring states: one is Telangana - they are having Hyderabad, one is Tamil Nadu - they are having Chennai, one is Karnataka - they are having Bangalore. We don't have any income generation city. We need your cooperation. We are requesting you (for) handholding till we reach neighbouring states (in this aspect). Sir, I am confident that you will extend all the cooperation in this regard.
--- end extract ---

He detailed the vision and targets for the future years and decades for Andhra Pradesh state.

----------------------
The last parts of PM Shri Narendra Modi's, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi, speech in this video is missing. Instead this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7LP_DvchgQ, has his speech in full from around 1:21:00 to 1:46:20, [Video auto-start at 1:21:00 link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7LP_DvchgQ#t=4860]. PM Shri Modi spoke in Hindi with Union minister Shri Venkaiah Naidu translating it to Telugu.

I have copy-pasted below my rough English translation of some of the paragraphs of the PM's speech, from another blogpost of mine here: http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2015/10/pm-narendra-modis-address-at-amaravati.html.

Today on this holy day of Vijayadashmi and after the worship of Shakti during Navarathri, Andhra Pradesh is taking an important step. Today the capital of Andhra Pradesh, which capital has been living with a cultural heritage for millenniums, has been living with a historical heritage, joining in with that cultural and historical heritage, Amaravati in a new form and in a modern style, is going to become the centre of the hopes and wishes of Andhra, and in this way it is going to really be a people's capital. I give my hearty congratulations to the government and the people of this place.

In the short time after forming a government, (Shri) Chandrababu (Naidu) has taken up this work with such speed, and is trying to incorporate in it the best from the world, that I heartily compliment Shri Chandrababu (Naidu).

After our country became free, very few new cities have been made and therefore making a new city in Bharat is not so common/well known as it should have been. It is unfortunate that in the past few decades a way of thinking (outlook/view) has been formed in our country that urbanization is a problem and in the course of that we have ignored this growth centre. Today it is the call of the times that we view urban development, not as a problem, but as an opportunity.

And therefore, the Indian govt. - like the way the world is changing, the way technology is being used, we will have to go towards creation of modern cities, and the Indian govt. has taken an important (much required) step of going in the direction of 100 smart cities. And our efforts are that these cities have to planned in a new way so that they are the center of economic activity, an engine of economic growth, and then (we will) have modern cities which uses very modern technology, has very modern transportation, has the facility of walk to work, will be green, and have no wastage.

I hope that in the new steps taken in the direction of urban development in the country, Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh becomes a signboard showing the way (forward), and I believe it will be so.

Now the minister from Japan was telling us that Japan has good/real experience of how difficult it is to build a new city. In my life too such an opportunity came, when in 2001 there was a terrible earthquake. After that the responsibility of being the chief minister of Gujarat came upon me. Our whole district of Kutch and important cities of other districts had been destroyed in a way. We had a big challenge of raising up all those villages and cities. But when there is political will, the consent of the citizens-God (citizens viewed as form of God) and clear vision, then (special) capabilities (powers) get acquired, and today that district has made its position among the fastest growing districts of Hindustan (India).

When I got this invitation of Amaravati (foundation ceremony), I had told Babu (Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu) that I will definitely come. But when I read in the newspaper that Chandrababu had gone to the house of the chief minister of Telangana (Shri K. Chandrashekar Rao) and invited him, when this news came to me then there was no limit to my happiness and for this action I give him special appreciation.
...
But now it is the call of the times that whether it is Andhra or Telangana, our Atma (self) is Telugu. And this Telugu Atma has two arms, Telangana and Andhra, and both should progress so much, both should be so complementary to each other that they should be our strength in furthering the glory of Hindustan (India).

I believe that the capacity to take maximum benefit from the startup (creation) campaign of the government of Bharat (India) is in this land (place/state). Lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of Andhra youth have achieved good positions as professionals in various countries of the world.
...
Do have belief/faith that the team (pair) of Chandrababu  and Narendra Modi, will bring to completion the matters that have been agreed, will complete it within the time frame and will fulfil the dreams of Andhra. Say after me, Victory to Bharat Mata (Mother India), Victory to Bharat Mata, Victory to Bharat Mata! Thank you very much.

---- end PM Modi speech extracts ---
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Readers may also want to visit the following links:

Modi lays foundation for Amaravati: As it happened, * http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/live-amaravati-new-capital-of-andhra-pradesh-foundation-ceremony/article7792142.ece

* PM lays foundation stone of Amaravati, http://www.narendramodi.in/pm-lays-foundation-stone-of-amaravati-365348

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