Purushottampatnam, which is less than 100 km from Kakinada, has become a veritable warzone.

Farmers CPM leaders arrested as protests break out against Andhra lift irrigation schemeImage for representation
news Protest Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 17:36

Several top leaders of the CPI (M) from Andhra, including a former Lok Sabha MP and at least 10 farmers, were arrested on Wednesday morning when they broke a police cordon and tried to force their way into farmland that has been notified for a lift irrigation project on the Godavari river.

Purushottampatnam, which is less than 100 km from the coastal city of Kakinada, has become a veritable warzone ever since the government notified 207 acres belonging to 334 farmers here for the irrigation project which supposed to provide drinking water to Vizag city as well as for farmers in East Godavari.

The agitators say that the market value of the land is at least Rs. 40 lakh per acre but the the government is offering only Rs. 19 lakh per acre. Speaking to TNM over the phone from the Seetanagaram police station where he’s detained, former CPI(M) MP Babu Rao Mediyam, said that the demand of the agitators is simply that the AP government adhere to the rules for land acquisition framed by the Centre.

The party’s East Godavari district secretary Arun said, “If the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 is followed, the farmers should get four times the government valuation of the land. At present the valuation according to the revenue department is Rs. 8 lakh per acre. So, the compensation should actually be Rs. 32 lakh and not Rs. 19 lakh.”

He also said that a few  farmers, who agreed to the government offer without question in January, were given Rs. 28 lakhs. However, those who did not agree to the price, are now being offered only Rs.19 lakhs.

At least 138 farmers out of 334 have already accepted the government compensation. The CPI (M) is depending on the support of the remaining farmers to keep their agitation alive.


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