An Andhra Pradesh state government order to take over the plots allotted to farmers of Amaravati was suspended by the High Court on Monday, September 13. The then TDP government had allotted plots to farmers as gifts in return for the lands acquired from them for the development of the state capital. The present YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government had recently issued a Government Order (GO) 316, taking over these plots. The state had argued that these plots were assigned lands meant for the poor and hence not transferable. The state told the High Court that gifting of these plots to the Amaravati farmers was in violation of the provisions of the AP Assigned Lands Act, 1977.
The farmers had challenged the GO 316 in the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Hearing the petition, a division bench on Monday passed an interim order temporarily suspending the GO. It directed Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Authority (AMRDA) not to take further action on GO 316. The petitioner's counsel argued that it was illegal to take back the plots given to farmers as a return gift. He submitted to the court that the plots were allotted as per the agreements the then government had entered with the farmers.
A single-judge bench had last month stayed implementation of GO 316 and its related notices dealing with annulling the allotted residential and commercial plots to the farmers in assigned lands located in the Amaravati region. The court had directed the state government to avoid taking any hasty decision as regards its plan to take back the plots allotted to the farmers.
The previous TDP government headed by N Chandrababu Naidu took up land pooling for construction of the capital city of Amaravati. It categorised the farmers having assigned lands and announced packages for them in lieu of taking their lands. Each farmer was allotted 500 square feet of residential area and 50 square feet of commercial area.
After the YSRCP came to power in 2019, it decided to have three state capitals. It announced that the administrative capital will be shifted to Visakhapatnam and the judicial capital to Kurnool while retaining only the legislature at Amaravati.
Farmers of various villages in the Amaravati region have been staging protests since the YSRCP government came to power in 2019 demanding the government to retain Amaravati as the only state capital.
(With IANS inputs)