Real estate developers and local leaders of the then ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) formed a coterie to force owners of “assigned lands” from people of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities to sell them more than 444 acres of land in the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) of Amaravati, according to a state Cabinet sub-committee report.
The sub-committee, formed by the YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh, looked into land acquisition under the previous TDP government of N Chandrababu Naidu for the proposed state capital – Amaravati. The report was submitted to the government on December 27.
“Assigned land” is given to ex-servicemen, as well as poor, landless beneficiaries; such land cannot be sold or given away to a third party.
According to the report, 30 realtors and local TDP leaders purchased 444.66 acres of assigned lands from people of SC and ST communities.
Explaining the modus operandi, as reported by the sub-committee, an official said: “Transfer or sale of assigned land is prohibited under AP Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfers) Act, 1977. But some influential real estate developers, with the backing of local political leaders, coerced the poor land beneficiaries to sell the land to them. The realtors and political leaders approached the owners of assigned land and told them that their plots were not covered under the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), and thus they were not eligible for monetary benefits.”
These landowners were told that they will not get any developed plots in return, as promised to owners of other categories of land who gave their plots under LPS, the official said. “The then TDP government announced benefits for landowners, as well as tenant farmers, but left out assigned landowners from LPS. Scared that their land could be taken over by the government later, owners of assigned land panicked and sold off their land to the realtors at low rates,” the official said, explaining from the report.
Nearly 30 real estate owners and local TDP leaders approached owners of assigned land and told them their land could be acquired for development of Amaravati as AP capital and that they would not get any monetary benefit. This led to panic-selling. The realtors then pressured the then TDP govt to denotify assigned land and surrendered them to the Capital Region Development Authority to make profit.
After more than 444 acres of assigned land was sold off, the state government released a Government Order stating that assigned land would also be covered under LPS, the official said.
After purchasing these plots of assigned land, the official said, the realtors and some political leaders started pressuring the government to denotify them as assigned land, “so that they could give the land for LPS and enjoy monetary benefits as well as receive developed plots”.
Then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had announced LPS on December 8, 2014. Under this, owners of irrigated land were eligible for compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre per annum for 10 years and a 1,000-sq yard developed plot. Owners of dry (or non-agricultural) land were eligible for Rs 30,000, and Rs 2,500 per month compensation was to be given to tenant farmers and farm labourers.
The report states that the while the real estate developers purchased the assigned lands in their own names, the TDP leaders purchased them as benami property – or bought under the name of another real or fictitious person as a mask for the real beneficiary.
The report states: “As per initial data, 444.66 acres of assigned land was taken away from owners of assigned land by realtors who are close associates of the TDP leadership. The extent of land (each plot) varies from 47.39 acres to 0.86 cents. The realtors who bought the land approached the CRDA and claimed returnable plots, and they were granted annuity payments.”
The report mentions a “few irregularities”:
* In Nelapadu village under Thullur mandal, total land acquired for land pooling was 54.49 acres, of which 42.92 acres were in violation of AP Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfers) Act — or POT Act — while 11.57 acres were encroached land (taken from assigned land owners).
* In Lingayapalem village, the entire 153.9 acres given to land pooling was encroached land.
* In Ainavolu village, 2.88 acres out of 5.86 acres land given for land pooling is in violation of POT Act.
* In Pitchikale Palem village, out of 14.98 acres given for pooling, 5.74 acres were assigned lands and 9.24 acres were encroached.
* Other villages which saw violations of POT Act include Sakhamuru (3.07 acres), Velagapudi (6.35 acres) and Rayapudi (3.45 acres).
The report has named the real estate developers and local TDP leaders for taking over assigned lands:
Kolli Shivaram (took over 47.39 acres); Gummadi Suresh (42.925 acres); Balusu Srinivasa Rao (14.07 acres); Nimmagadda Santha Kumari (13.10 acres); Kasireddy Peraiah (10.96 acres); Mythri Infra Managing Director Tella Srinivasa Rao (10.48 acres); Dhulipala Padmavathi (9.97 acres); Dhulipala Srujana (9.05 acres); Lakshmisetty Sujata (9.05 acres); Chikkala Vijayasaradhi (8.76 acres); Challa Venkata Hanumanta Vijaya Kumar (8.14 acres); Yaganti Srikanth (7.33 acres); Parcuchuri V Prabhakara Rao (6.23 acres); Yellamati Prasad Kumar (5.96 acres); Ambati Seetharamu (5.7 acres); Gottimukkala Venkata Vijaya Hari Varma (5.52 acres); Paruchuri Venkaiah Bhaskar Rao (5.32 acres); Yallamati Prasad Kumar (4.99 acres); Gogineni Suresh Babu (4.8 acres); Bade Anjaneyulu (4.79 acres); Safewap Infra MD Indukuri Venkata Satyanaranayana (4.75 acres); Kondaiah Vijay (4.61 acres); Katragadda Chandrashekar Rao (4.43 acres); Potluri Jayanth (4.27 acres); Lakshmi Shetty Suryanarayana (4.24 acres); Polavarapu Somashekar (4.12 acres); Kondaiah Bala Subramanyam (4.05 acres); Sukavasi Chaitanya (4.04 acres); Poluri Somanatharao (3.63 acres); and Vellanki Srinivas Satya Prasad Rao (3.55 acres).