As Jana Sena Party Chief Pawan Kalyan was rounding up his visit to the Amaravati capital region in Andhra Pradesh, many farmers who had given away their land for the development of the capital arrived at the party office in Mangalagiri to talk about their grievances. Among the different groups present was the Rajadhani Assigned Rythulu Rythu Kooleela Samakhya (Capital Region Assigned Farmers and Farm Workers Association), who voiced their concerns and were assured support.
Farmers from the group who had been cultivating assigned land (land allotted for livelihood to economically weak sections, particularly SC and ST), have been demanding fair compensation for a long time. According to Basavaiah, a representative of the group who came from Thullur, while the owners of patta land were promised a developed plot of 1050 square yards per acre of pooled land, in the case of land assigned land, the state has only promised 600 square yards of developed plot per acre. â€śOne of the Chief Ministerâ€™s campaign promises was to give us a package with equal compensation as that of patta landholders. But so far, our concerns havenâ€™t been addressed,â€ť he said.
While the annual lease amount for the pooled land, which had been delayed by a couple of months this year, was received by patta landowners on Friday and Saturday, Basavaiah claims that several assigned landholders havenâ€™t received the lease amount this year.
Confusion prevailed among a section of farmers since last week after statements made by state ministers and ruling YSRCP leaders about the possibility of shifting the state capital from Amaravati. Many farmers at the meeting expressed resentment towards Urban Development Minister Botsa Satyanarayanaâ€™s recent statement that Amaravati was not a safe place for the capital as it was flood-prone.
Pawan Kalyan said that Chief Minister Jagan tended to choose people like Satyanarayana and Irrigation Minister Anil Kumar Yadav to deliver bad news, instead of his close associates and family members. â€śOpposing the development of the capital in Amaravati is the same as opposing Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah,â€ť he said. Pawan said that while releasing the lease amount is an important measure, farmers had given their land for the future of the state, which cannot be put in jeopardy.
About 24,000 farmers are estimated to have given over 30,000 acres for the state capital under the land pooling scheme. Under the stateâ€™s Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government had promised to return a part of the land to them, as developed property, in addition to the lease amount.
With uncertainty over the capital region and constructions having come to a standstill, farmers sought reassurance that the capital would continue in Amaravati. While various communities including women farmers, Dalit farmers and workers and Muslim farmers were represented at the meeting, some of the biggest and most powerful Kamma landowners who had pooled land for the capital gave the meeting a miss.