Unlike some suggestions made before, Visakhapatnam or Vizag is not going to be the capital of the new shrunk Andhra Pradesh state as Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu reportedly told his Telugu Desam Party MLAs to seek land donations in Mangalagiri region between Vijayawada and Guntur, the place he was sworn-in as the CM.
Though Vizag has all the facilities to become the natural choice, it has lost out due to defence establishments around the city and its busy port.
The formal announcement may come on Thursday when Naidu makes a formal statement in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. Reportedly, the Cabinet gave its consent to establish the state capital between Vijayawada and Guntur after a five-hour long meeting.
Earlier, the Sivaramakrishnan Committee headed by former urban development secretary had identified three regions Vizag region, Rayalaseema and land along the proposed Kalahasti-Nadikudi railway line — for the new capital. But none of them were considered in the meeting on Monday and Naidu sought his ministers to seek donations from people to in the form of land to build the new capital. Otherwise, Mangalagiri silk sarees are well known in the country.
It remains to be seen whether the peak land rate in the vicinity will further go up. Currently, the land price is at 2.5 crore for an acre of land in the region and the capital, if built, will be the costliest in Indian history compared to Gandhinagar, Bhubaneshwar or Chandigarh.
Once the capital of Gajapathi rulers, Manglagiri’s history is traceable to 1515 when it was conquered by Hampir ruler Krishnadeva Raya’s minister Timmarasu from the Gajapati rulers of Kalinga. Even Sri Krishna Deva Raya, as records say, visited the beautiful place and the mountain hill. Later it moved into the hands of Golkonda rulers and was invaded and plundered in 1780 by Hyder Ali. The place was the target of looting by Pindaris until Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu became its formal ruler and ensured safety.
Though there is a lake in the vicinity, the place was hit by severe water shortage in the 1970s, forcing then municipal chariman Gopala Rao to get water in tanks from nearby towns through water pipelines. Climate-wise, Mangalagiri is tropical and the average temperature is warm to hot throughout the year. With no winter season as such, the peak summer in May and June touches 40 to 48 degrees celsius.
As of 2011 Census of India, the town had a population of 73,613 with 36,532 males, 37,081 females and 7,706 children, in the age group of 0–6 years. The average literacy rate stands at 76.16 % with 50,197 literates, which is higher than the national average of 73.00%.