Andhra CM scales down Amaravathi foundation fete

Stung by criticism on the scale of lavish festivities planned for the foundation laying ceremony of Amaravathi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu has asked his cultural team to drop a prominent event management team and rope in Krishna and Guntur collectorates instead.

The two-hour-long programme planned on 22 October at Uddandarayapalem the centre of the seed capital of the Amaravathi city was to cost the state exchequer more than Rs 100 crore.

The state government initially had handed over the programme to Wizkraft as there were several components to the foundation laying ceremony which includes receiving and accommodating Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ambassadors of Singapore and Japan, chief ministers of several states and 23,700 farmers who have given their 33,000 acres of land for the construction of the capital city.

Following the cancellation of the contract with Wizcraft the event organizing company terminated its agreements with several Tollywood stars it was planning to line up on the day of fete.

The state also planned several cultural programmes depicting the importance of Amaravathi and its Buddhist heritage. All three mega stages were to be erected at ground zero. Standing crops were to be bulldozed and approach roads to and from Uddandarayapalem were being laid to allow free flow of traffic.

As there is no accommodation available for the invitees the state was also forced to put up guests in far away places such as Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. Escalating the cost further all those staying in other cities will have to be ferried in out of Uddandarayapalem by helicopters. For this five helipads were to be constructed near the site.

Centre’s snub

However, what seems to have changed Naidu’s mind is the reported snub by the Union government which said to have expressed concern over the burgeoning overdraft and the splurging by the residual state on unproductive extravagance.

“The advise was to remain frugal in the face of uncertainty over the capital construction in the years to come,” a senior office of the state government said.

Following the decision to do away with event management group, the state government summoned collectors of Krishna and Guntur and handed them over the work of organizing the whole fete on the day of Vijayadasami.

The districts which have several cultural organizations eager to take part in the once in a life time opportunity are said to have agreed to enthrall the audience where as Telugu and Kannada actor Saikumar has agreed to act as master of ceremonies.

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