A festive atmosphere enveloped Uddandarayunipalem near Vijayawada on Thursday as thousands descend to watch the historic event of foundation stone laying of Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati.
People from different parts of the state and VIPs from various states and abroad started pouring since early hours to be a part of the history.
A thick security blanket has thrown around the venue located amid the fertile agricultural lands at Uddandarayunipalem in Guntur district, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for the capital at 12.35 p.m.
Modi, who will reach Gannavaram Airport by a special aircraft, will fly to the venue in a helicopter. After reaching the venue at 12.30 p.m., he will first visit Amaravti Pavilion, created to highlight the history and culture of Amaravati.
Modi, along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and other guests will participate in the rituals to mark foundation stone ceremony between 12.36 p.m. and 12.43 p.m., the auspicious time set by the astrologers.
A group of priests started ‘puja’ and other associated rituals near the main dais around 9 a.m. The cultural programmes from a specially erected dais began at 10 a.m. to enthrall the audience.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan, Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah and Assam and Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya will share the dais with the prime minister.
Ministers from Singapore and Japan, ambassadors from 14 countries, central ministers, top politicians from various states, judges, industrialists and celebrities are attending the gala event.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had confirmed his participation but had to cancel his visit in the last minute due to developments in his state.
The foundation stone pylon carries names of 16 guests including a minister each from Singapore and Japan.
The organizers have arranged two separate dais for VVIPs, a VIP gallery for 8,000 and a special gallery for farmers who gave their lands for building the capital.
The authorities have made seating arrangements for one lakh people. About 1.5 to 2 lakh people are expected to attend the event. The venue has been decked up with flowers, banners, festoons while LED screens have also been erected to help people watch the entire proceedings.
The organizers including Heritage Food owned by Chandrababu Naidu’s family have arranged food, butter milk and coffee for 1.5 lakh people.
State ministers received guests at Gannavaram Airport in Vijayawada since early Thursday. Nine member delegation each has arrived from Singapore and Japan. From Gannavaram airport, the VIPs are being escorted to the venue in helicopters or special buses.
More than 14,000 policemen drawn from various parts of Andhra Pradesh and also neighbouring Telangana and paramilitary forces have been deployed as part of the massive arrangements. Restrictions have been imposed on several roads surrounding the region including Chennai-Kolkatta highway to regulate traffic.