In a controversial move that is likely to see protests by farmers and Opposition parties, the Andhra Pradesh government has issued a notification to acquire land in 10 villages in the proposed capital region under the Land Acquisition Act.
A notification was issued late Thursday night designating Special Deputy Collectors presently working under the AP Government’s Land Pooling Scheme as officers “to perform all functions of Collector under section 3 (g) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 read with rule 2(1) (d) of Andhra Pradesh State Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Rules, 2014.”
The Government Order will give more fodder to Opposition parties YSR Congress Party and Congress, and Left parties which are already opposing the Telugu Desam Party Government’s efforts to acquire land in the AP Capital Region. Besides, actor Pawan Kalyan, a friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who campaigned in favour of the TDP in the 2014 general elections is also opposing forcible acquisition of land from farmers.
Farmers in these 10 villages are reluctant to part with their land and have not participated in the Land Pooling Scheme which is voluntary.
These ten villages which are divided into 26 units are : Krishnayapalem, Nowlur 1 and 2, Kuragallu, Nidimarru, Undavalli,Penumaka, Tadepalli, Malkapuram, Borupalem, Abbarajupuram, Dondapadu, Pitchikalapalem, Inavolu, Rayapudi, Kondamarajupalem, Nekkallu, Nelapadu, Sakamuru, Thulluru 1 and 2, Velagapudi, Venkatapalem, Mandadam 1 and 2, and Ananthavaram. These villages are in Guntur district in Mangalagiri, Tadepalli and Thulluru mandals. The land to be acquired in these villages is 3892 acres. The AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) has already taken possession of over 25,000 acres in the area under the land pooling scheme and has set a target of having at least 30,000 acres under its possession.
On June 16, a Division Bench of the Hyderabad High Court directed the AP Government not to interfere with agriculture activities of farmers who do not want to part with their land. The Bench also said that if the government wants to take possession of the land it must follow legal process even if it was under the land acquisition act. Dozens of farmers held a protest outside the office of the CRDA today morning.
They brought with them baskets of dozens of varieties of vegetables and fruits that grow in their fields to show why the do not want to part with their lands. Bantu Balaji Reddy, a farmer from Undavalli who is leading the protests, said that the government is arm-twisting them into giving up their lands. “First the TDP government launched the land pooling policy saying it was voluntary but officials have coerced and intimidated farmers into giving up their land. Now, those who have not yielded to pressure are being forced with this notification to acquire land using the acquisition act. We will oppose come what may,’’ Reddy said.