It's a bright, sunny October day in Andhra Pradesh, India. 34 farmers wait outside Shamshabad International Airport, waiting for Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to flag off their trip to Singapore, the dream city. Their eyes and hearts are full of dreams, envisioning the sight of the flawless city, for whose replica they have given up their land and farming.
The CM has promised to create a second Singapore in Amaravati, the proposed capital of Andhra Pradesh, set to replace Hyderabad after a few years. Life will be so different there.
Singapore surely does not have potholes, waterlogging and dirty streets. This visit to the Lion City, organised by AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) is like a peek into the golden future of India. After all, Amaravati is being built by Surbana Jurong, a consortium of Singapore firms, on a budget of approximately Rs. 55,000 crores.
The farmers are not new to floods, which have often unsettled city life whether in Hyderabad or Bangalore in India. As recently as October, they have cribbed about submerged streets, stranded vehicles, overflowing gutters and soggy fields in Hyderabad, which is not a planned city like Singapore. But Amaravati is going to be, where they are assured of no mundane problems like bad drainage system.
But when they landed in Singapore, the group has been greeted by a familiar yet shocking sight, torrent rains and floods. News flashed all around saying, "Singapore witnesses flash floods due to unexpected rain, with streets being submerged and vehicles wading through water." The Public Utilities Board (PUB) has issued flood warnings in Stamford Road, Victoria Street, Exeter Road, Somerset Road, Tanjong Pagar Road, Craig Road and Leng Kee Road.
Fortunately the water in Singapore got cleared in an hour's time relieving many of them to realise the efficiency in urban planning of Singapore. Back home, it stays for at least a day, they know. Now they are hopeful that the reason they gave up their land for a beautiful future capital city will remain fruitful.