Andhra Pradesh: 3-capital plan leaves Amaravati farmers in the lurch
FARMERS AND landowners in the 29 villages declared part of the Amaravati capital region have intensified their ongoing protests after the state government passed the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of Regions Bill, 2020 to have three state capitals.
More than 20,000 farmers and landowners had given up land for the proposed capital under former CM N Chandrababu Naidu’s land pooling scheme in 2014-15.
However, the new Bill, which moves the state secretariat to Visakhapatnam, the High Court to Kurnool and keeps Amaravati as the Legislative capital, has left these landowners in the lurch.
J C Rao, a farmer, told The Indian Express, “We gave our land because we wanted to see a world-class capital city here. The plots in lieu of our land were supposed to be developed and should have become part of the growing capital…Now, everything has been cancelled, including the seed capital. The land has become useless without any development. Ever since YSRCP came to power, no one is interested in land here… We ended up the biggest losers in this revenge politics.”
“The government has stated clearly that it has no intention of developing Amaravati further so all the land will lie barren. Even if we are given our land back, it will be difficult to start farming again at least for a couple of years. We will need a lot of government help, but no one in this government is even willing to talk to us,” P Sudhakar, a member of the farmers’ Joint Action Committee, said.
What is land pooling scheme?
Under the scheme, farmers giving up land for development of the capital region were offered a compensation package of Rs 30,000 per acre per annum for non-irrigated land, and Rs 50,000 per acre per annum for irrigated land for a period of 10 years, with 5% increase every year. But the main draw was the assurance to return developed plots of sizes ranging from 1,000 sq yards to 1,250 sq yards — both commercial and residential — to each farmer or landowner.
Botsa Satyanarayana, state Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, said the government will work out a suitable resolution for farmers. “The CM has announced that no injustice would be done to Amaravati farmers. We will work out an amicable solution,” he said.