S'pore, Andhra Pradesh to launch flights

Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh's new capital city, is being built from scratch along the Krishna river. Singapore has been involved in helping the southern state build the city since 2014, and two agreements to begin work on the start-up area were signed
Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh's new capital city, is being built from scratch along the Krishna river. Singapore has been involved in helping the southern state build the city since 2014, and two agreements to begin work on the start-up area were signed yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Deals inked to begin work on commercial core of Indian state's new capital city

Singapore and Andhra Pradesh will kick off flight services and begin construction of the commercial core of the Indian state's new capital city of Amaravati, said a statement from Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

Singapore has been involved in helping the southern state build the city since 2014.

Surbana Jurong submitted the city's masterplan in 2015 to the state government, and last year a consortium comprising Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development was announced as the master developers for a 6.84 sq km so-called start-up area - the commercial core of the capital city.

Two agreements to begin work on the start-up area, with the construction of a visitor and exhibition gallery known as Phase Z.ro, were signed in the presence of Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu yesterday.

"Phase Z.ro will serve as a catalyst to kick-start activities in the start-up area, and be a key touchpoint for visitors and citizens to get a glimpse of Amaravati City and the state of Andhra Pradesh as it develops," said Mr Iswaran, who along with Mr Naidu co-chaired the third Joint Implementation Steering Committee meeting yesterday.

He added: "Our collaboration with Andhra Pradesh exemplifies the broad and wide-ranging relationship Singapore shares with India. We will build on this strong relationship to create more opportunities for Singapore and India businesses."

Andhra Pradesh needed a new capital city when it lost its original, Hyderabad, to Telangana, India's newest state, which was created in June 2014. Amaravati is being built from scratch along the Krishna river.

The MTI statement said Mr Iswaran and Mr Naidu also discussed plans to start a direct charter flight by SilkAir between Singapore's Changi Airport and Andhra Pradesh's Gannavaram Airport, the airport closest to Amaravati.

The first direct charter flight is expected to be launched in the next few months, said MTI.

Announcing the flight service at a joint press conference with Mr Iswaran yesterday, Mr Naidu said: "International flights are essential for the development of any city. Direct flights to Singapore will also connect us to the world."

MTI said that the two leaders also discussed a skills development project to "prepare the people of Andhra Pradesh for work opportunities in the capital city" and reviewed progress in three other areas of collaboration, including urban, economic and institutional development.

MTI noted that Singapore's Centre for Liveable Cities has been providing technical assistance and sharing expertise on urban development with the authorities involved in Amaravati.

Separately, the Singapore Business Federation and the Confederation of Indian Industries will jointly establish an Andhra Pradesh-Singapore Business Council to promote exchanges between the two business communities, said MTI.

Mr Iswaran said at the press conference that progress on the capital city would be visible soon.

"We are looking forward to seeing some significant progress on the ground in the next six months," he said. "We have made steady progress and we are now at an important milestone. Now we are at the cusp of seeing significant activity on the ground."

Mr Iswaran is accompanied on the visit to Amaravati by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Enterprise Singapore, Centre for Liveable Cities and the Building and Construction Authority.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore, Andhra Pradesh to launch flights'. Print Edition | Subscribe