part wild speculation induced by more wilder speculation elsewhere on the net, part outpouring of disgust:
chandigarh was built over 26,000 acres and hosts around 8 lakh people now, or around 1.6 lakh families. even if a slightly smaller city, for around 5 lakh people, was planned for andhra-rayalaseema, purely to host the administrative paraphernalia of a new state, what'd it cost the new state? in the last ten years, prices of real estate in random districts (with or without empty lots of the size indicated) from vizag to tirupati, depending on which place the bookies chose to bet on, shot up every time the debate on telangana got warm. the numbers quoted have always been over one crore an acre (people who have more authentic information, please correct me). so the land required for the new city itself could cost the new state anything between 5,000 to 20,000 crores or much more. if the new city is planned as an extension of an existing city, the costs would be much more.
how much more would the building of the city actually cost? the offices, homes, roads, parks and the rest? and the water, sewerage, electric supply systems? and how many villages or other human settlements would've to make way for the new city? and how long would the process of acquisition go on? and how could factors like litigation, unwilling sellers, environmental concerns etc affect the costs and time involved in building the new city? and so on.
and who will pay for all those costs? there has been very loose speculation about packages. who will pay for the package? the central government hasn't paid a single paisa as a package, by way of some kind of compensation, to any new state that has been formed until now. and packages on other occasions have not been handouts, purely. and why would the government of india, or all the people of india to be precise, pay for any package to clean up a purely telugu mess?
kishen reddy of the bjp says that the special package be funded through some form of cess on the city of Hyderabad for a limited period rather than running to large financial institutions for loans. the kishen reddies of the world have all the bright ideas to solve any critical problem, but most of the time, they spend a lot more time on turning all the bright ideas their constituents build into critical problems. by the time the bjp and other parties are done with it, i doubt if hyderabad would be capable of paying for its own sanitation needs.
one other kind of people who have proved themselves immensely capable of bright ideas, or at least fantasizing endlessly about bright ideas have been telugu techies across the world. to save telugukind, i propose that techie foeticide is something we all have to seriously start thinking about. you can't spot a techie in the womb? i'm sure the existing techies would solve that problem.
the 25,000 crores or 50,000 crores or 1,00,000 crores or more that would be used to build the new city (or the two new cities) over the next 5 or 10 or twenty years, has already started propelling flight of capital from many existing cities. it's already taking away many jobs in the informal sector, and by the time it's finished, many villages, districts, regions across the two new or three new states would have to be starved more and more of much needed government funds (and private funds, as they'd start flowing to the new city) to build the new city. by the time it's finished it could cost four times as much as originally planned, like ysr's infamous jalayagnam programme. and a few more separatist movements.
wouldn't it be simpler and more useful if we stopped speculating or fantasizing about grand new worlds and started improving whatever we have now? i remember the 1,000 small towns plan dr.jayaprakash narayan had talked about during the last election. here's the gist.
a thousand small towns could be improved and strengthened to provide urban services, create employment and build new avenues for trade and industry centered around agricultural products with the same amount of money as would be needed (but wouldn't be enough) to build the new city. those small towns would help millions of landless labourers, marginal farmers and artisans move out of occupations that are dying in the villages. the new city would be built to house about 50,000 to 1,00,000 new babus and their families who would be a bigger, longer drain on the new states than the unbuilt city. you don't need to be a techie to do that kind of math.