Hyderabad: With Parliament clearing the way for formation of Telangana state, the focus now shifts on identifying a new 'capital' for the (residuary) state of Andhra Pradesh. As per the Centre's commitment, the new capital for Andhra Pradesh has to be identified within 45 days after Telangana state formally comes into being.
Though Hyderabad will be the 'common capital' of both Telangana and residuary AP, people of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema would like a new capital built at the earliest.
Port city Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Kurnool and Tirupati are the major cities in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions that form part of residuary AP.
All these cities, each having distinct identities, are contenders for the capital status of the new state.
Visakhapatnam, also popular as Vizag, boasts of a major port and many public sector and private industries, besides being the headquarters of Eastern Naval Command.
It is well connected to the eastern parts of the country and has a cosmopolitan culture. It has an international airport but that is under the Navy's command. Efforts to develop a civilian international airport have come to a naught due to lack of defence clearance.
Vijayawada is known as the 'commercial capital' and also 'political capital', besides being an educational and cultural hub.
It is well-connected by railways and is the vital south-north link.
It currently has a domestic airport with daily flights to major cities, including New Delhi. Located on the banks of river Krishna, Vijayawada has good water resources.
But land is in short supply here. Kurnool was the capital of erstwhile Andhra state between 1953 and 1956 before the (united) Andhra Pradesh came into being.
But its location is a disadvantage as it lies thrown away from coastal districts. Tirupati is a world-famous pilgrimage centre but lies on the edge of the state.