Andhra Pradesh farmers learn about S'pore-style planning

Farmers from Andhra Pradesh visiting the lifestyle and community hub in Tampines yesterday. The visit was intended to give the farmers, who had handed over their land to the Indian government, an insight into Singapore's use of land.
Farmers from Andhra Pradesh visiting the lifestyle and community hub in Tampines yesterday. The visit was intended to give the farmers, who had handed over their land to the Indian government, an insight into Singapore's use of land. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

Indian farmer Gadde Butchi Tirupati Rao is clear on what he would like - the mindset of the Singaporean people.

Mr Rao is on a visit here to see what Singapore-style planning can do for the upcoming state capital city of Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh, his home state.

"You see, if the government frames one rule or has to frame some law, the people obey it," he said. "There is no argument about that". Everything works systematically, he added, citing security, traffic and housing.

Mr Rao was part of a group of 34 farmers visiting Singapore.

They had handed over their land to make way for the new city. The visit was intended to give them an insight into Singapore's use of land and integration of services.

Mr Rao parted with 6ha of land for Amaravati. But Mr Kalyan Chakravarthi Polu, 28, gave up 17ha. In return, he said they were given 836 sq m of residential land and 209 sq m of commercial land for every 0.4ha.

Asked about anything he saw in Singapore that he would like to develop on his plot of land in India, Mr Polu said: "I'm planning to build a mall like this," referring to the Tampines lifestyle and community hub the farmers visited.

Mr Madala Rajendra, 44, had a stoic approach to the need for handing over his land to the government: "If you want to grow something, you will lose something. Without any sacrifice, we cannot do anything."

The trip here was the second in a series of four visits for a total of 123 farmers from Andhra Pradesh between October and February.

Mr Rao has high hopes for what Amaravati could become with Singapore's help.

"My wish is that after 15 years, people come from here to Amaravati to learn something."

Arvind Jayaram

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2017, with the headline 'Andhra Pradesh farmers learn about S'pore-style planning'. Print Edition | Subscribe