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Chiranjiv Singh report - on new capital for Karnataka

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Urban Development

Mr Chiranjiv Singh, an IAS officer from 69 batch, now retired headed this Alternative Capital Project (ACP). ACP and Mr Singh apparently produced a report that suggested building a new capital city of Bangalore. I have heard about this report from a few people, but haven't seen this report at all, nor have I met Mr Chiranjiv Singh. But the proposal - one can only guess - must have been driven by thoughts of de-congestion, and separation of political activity from economics.

A news report in Hindu today reminded me about the ACP report (Consider alternative capital for state). I used a few search engines + a custom search engine here on Praja that does google searches only in Karnataka govt sites, but couldn't find any mention of ACP report. It was written way back in 1993.

I am a strong believer in the concept though. Ideally, Karnataka of 2025 should have 10 towns, each capable of hosting 40 lakh citizens and spread evenly around the state. The way things are right now, 2025 is most likely going to look like a big urban circle spreading at least from Tumkur to Hosakote to Sarjapura to Anekal to Ramanagara housing 2 crores plus, and still thirsty for more and more "urban infrastructure" investments. Even today, 100 Crore of "infrastructure investment" in Bangalore gives you far less that what same money could get done in Dharwad or Chikmagalur. Would this asymmetry get better or worse by 2025?

A new capital city, somewhere in the north or central region of state may not give you those 15 40-Lakh towns, but would start as an earnest step towards doing that. Concepts of cluster development around Bangalore, and then around this new capital city would give you 4-5 decently sized townships. Think Mysore/Hassan/Tumkur around Bangalore, and similar cluster around new capital city. And the experience of either building a new city or upgrading an existing small town to capital would create urban development experience that can be replicated across. Plus, industrial or agrarian centers that would want to service Bangalore as well as the new capital region are likely to come up somewhere in between the two for optimizing production/logistics/etc.

Anyway. without clear data and assumptions that we can use to model growth and investments, all this is still in the wishes and opinions territory. But yeah, do want to see that ACP report out. And want to know about any similar reports that may have been done after 1993. I am pretty sure there are more people inside government who think the same way as Mr Chiranjiv Singh's ACP did in early 90s.


SB aka Pranav


silkboard's picture

The tarlesubba helix

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Time to remind ourselves of the helix drawn by tarlesubba few years ago :) six clusters in there, the new capital (dream of course) needs to be in the other five.

silkboard's picture

manifesto material?

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Why could "a new capital" not be a strong election promise for one of the parties in the upcoming election. Think KJP - Shimoga. Or JD-S, and Dharwad. Such a promise would mean losing on votes from Bangalore-Mysore region. But if packaged properly, the promise can be sold off as being most beneficial to Blr-Mys region itself. The other problem would be that if you pick one region from above five, you would risk losing votes in the other four clusters too.

Just a thought. Its election time, and people *are* writing first drafts of their manifestos :)

n's picture

One of the side benefits of

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One of the side benefits of building suvarna vidhana soudha in Belgaum (and other multiple soudhas in other towns) would be to move some of the administration away.  But that wasn't the original thought; it was to "prove" to M'stra that Belgaum is part of K'nata and in the process put money into the pockets of people (cost Rs. 500 crores, no less).  Any accountability on why this much public money was spent? For other big ticket items (PPP like airport, NICE etc.) without transparency / accountability, at least usable facilities of reasonable to good quality exist. /rhetoric.  Anyway, ACP facilities exist to be exploited without additional expenditure. Of course, legislators want B'lore-like facilities at all those locations ... Suvarna soudha is under-utilized for most of the year and, like the last comment on the first ToI link mentioned, will end up being a ghost building.

silkboard's picture

not a spare time capital

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Spare time capitals lead to ghost buildings, and nothing really moves away. A separate, new capital city will do no harm to the existing one - Bangalore.

Its about unlocking value in some tier-2/tier-3 city to add to the single large real engine of "growth" (read jobs) we have today - Bangalore. This resource-sucking, investment-hungry, cauvery-thirsty monstrocity can be managed better by creating a new city to compete with it. This new city needs to start with a lead in at least one area. By being the capital, it would start with that - hub for political activity.

n's picture

I disagree that an alternate

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I disagree that an alternate capital in a new city is the best option for being a counter magnet to Bengaluru.  The expenditure to maintain the lifestyle of state-level politicians and bureaucrats including soudha / secretariat, legislators' homes, private transportation, rail / air transport, entertainment, perks etc. is astronomical.  Just a soudha cost 500 crores.  The total may cost upwards of 2000 crores since many "facilities" need to start from almost scratch.  That leaves the existing facilities in Bengaluru being under-utilized.  The better option would be spend the same amount to create infrastructure in partially developed cities like Hubli-Dharwad and let private industries establish a cluster of say cell phone manufacturing or software or financial services and its ecosystem.  Industries are usually location-agnostic as long as power, water, road/rail/air infrastructure is comparable to Bengaluru.  Even better would be solicit PPP investment (just the thing being promoted by IDD) in basic infrastructure and do the above.

Tejaswi KR's picture

Creating a second capital as

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Creating a second capital as an alterntive to Bangalore would also be met with a lot of opposition and eventually, the entire issue would turn political. Let us keep politics away from the development of the state, please.

In my opinion, the government should identify regions other than Bangalore, that are destined for urbanization in the years to come. As far as I can think, the best options are Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Gulbarga and Mysore. A State Capital Region (SCR) must be carved out using Bangalore City, Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Ramanagar, Kolar, Chikballapur and Tumkur districts and there must be one SCR governance authority to coordinate the functioning of all other urban local bodies such as the ones in Tumkur or Kolar. The boundaries must be drawn for the metropolitan areas of Mangalore, Mysore, Hubli, Gulbarga etc. and urban infrastructure such as airports, roads, railways must be put in place.

Categorizing of different zones of the state such as the high-tech zone (Bangalore region), Steel zone (Bellary - Koppal region), Cement zone (Gulbarga region), Sugar Manufacturing zone (Belgaum- Dharwad - Bagalkot region) etc. is also essential. The Mysore / Karnataka Tramways Act, must be suitably amended to put in place, the mass rapid transport infrastructure such as metro rail, in all these places so that the commercial hubs such as industrial areas, transport hubs such as bus stations, railway stations and airport are all linked to the residential areas.

The government must also work towards establishing a university in every district, in a manner similar to the establishment of first grade colleges, convention centers, district hospitals etc. so that the migration of people to other urban areas is minimised. The students of Karnataka must receive equal priority in all these universities and the universities, as such across the state, must offer similar quality of education.


psaram42's picture

Why do we need two capitals?

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As I understand there should be one capital for a state where the legislative assembly meets regularly.

In India, the lower or sole house of each constituent state's parliament is called the Legislative Assembly, or Vidhan Sabha. The same name is also used for the lower house of the legislatures for two of the union territoriesDelhi and Puducherry. The upper house in the seven states with a bicameral legislature is called the Legislative Council, or Vidhan Parishad. Members of the former are called MLAs, and those of the latter MLCs. [1]

Muhammad bin Tughlaq was called the wisest fool!

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq was the first of the Tughlaqs to rule Delhi. His folly was the construction of the city of Tughlaqabad in a desolate area south of the capital where even the modern sprawl of Delhi has been unable to settle. Spreading over six square kilometers, the city of his dreams remains a wasteland with howling jackals at night on a wind swept arid land. [2]

Vidhana Soudha and ministers Bungalows are valuable assets at public cost. Would it not be an utter waste of money to duplicate it? Further the state is divided into districts with its own headquarters where the local isues are addressed to. comment guidelines

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