The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh has decided to scale down the proposed 'iconic' bridge across the Krishna river, throwing another indication that its plans for the new capital Amaravati will not be as ostentatious as envisaged by former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu.
The 3.2-km long six-lane bridge that is intended to connect Amaravati with Vijayawada-Hyderabad national highway will be simple and not iconic, and may cost around Rs 400 crore, down from the earlier proposed cost of Rs 1,387 crore.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is expected to soon complete a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the bridge, which is expected to reduce the distance from Amaravati to Hyderabad and Amaravati to Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh by 40 kms.
Chandrababu Naidu had on January 12 laid the foundation stone for the 'Kuchipudi iconic bridge'. With a 170-metre-tall pylon, it was one of the many "iconic" structures planned by Naidu, who wanted to develop Amaravati as a world-class city.
Officials of the Amaravati Development Corporation Ltd (ADCL) had then said that the bridge would be completed in two years.
However, the Centre did not show much interest in the project due to the high cost involved. It wanted the state to bear the additional expenditure for the project following which the new government told the NHAI that it prefers a simple bridge which would meet people's needs. Official sources say a simple bridge may cost around Rs 400 crore.
The decision to dump the 'iconic' bridge plans comes amid confusion over future of Amaravati after Urban Development Minister Botsa Satyanarayana recently remarked that the city was flood-prone. The remark triggered speculation that the state capital may be shifted to some other place.
BJP MP T G Venkatesh's claim that Jagan Mohan Reddy is planning four regional capitals further added to the confusion.
But leaders of the YSRCP maintained that only the previous government's plan for iconic structures had been shelved, and there was no proposal to shift the capital from Amaravati.