Tension continued to grip Vijayawada city over the alleged land grabbing at SRR & CVR Government College, one of the city’s oldest degree colleges, with its students staging a protest in front of the institution’s main gate.
A protest rally by students and student organisations along with members of the alumni association on Tuesday triggered tension as some students allegedly destroyed flex boards at the site of the supposed illegal encroachment.
Out of the nearly 14 acres of land belonging to the college, 6.68 acres is embroiled in land grabbing allegations. The college and the encroached land are separated by the Rayes Canal.
Speaking to TNM, Someshwar Rao, Students’ Federation of India (SFI) Krishna District Secretary said, “The government should intervene in the matter and free the land from the encroachers.”
He also added, “If there is no word on this, we will go on an indefinite hunger strike.”
SRR College SFI Secretary Rakesh said, “We will fight for the protection of the college property.”
While demanding the immediate destruction of illegally constructed buildings on the college land, students alleged that the police threatened them saying they would file a case against them and the alumni.
When TNM reached out to the college Principal Velaga Joshi about the issue, he said that the land belonged to the college and that there was no question or doubt about that.
How the alleged encroachment started
According to Alumni Association Gen Secretary Ch Yugandar, “In 1956, the college management had given part of the land, measuring 6.67 acres, to a tenant farmer named Pedarla Narasimha Rao on lease.”
The alumni also alleged that the land has been sold out to others through a chain of registrations.
Venu Gopal Rao, another member of the alumni association, claimed, “While he was as a tenant farmer, Narasimha Rao obtained a patta in his name under the provisions of the Estate Abolition Act.”
He also alleged that the revenue and electrical departments failed to verify ownership when the tenants applied for permissions.
According to reports, in the second week of January, the college management learned that some people had started construction work on the college land after which they complained to the Collector, revenue department and the police.
Alumni association members are upset that their college, which has given legendary cultural and political figures to the state, has become the target of illegal land encroachers.
Encroached land is worth Rs 300 crore
When TNM asked students and the alumni body who they thought were behind the land grabbing, they said “from local politicians to advocates, many influential persons of the city are behind this”.
Apparently, the market price of the encroached land is nearly Rs 300 crore.
(Photo: By arrangemnet)
Student leaders claimed they were being targeted and threatened for talking about the college land.
The alumni association has decided to meet the Vijayawada City Police Commissioner over the issue and also give representations to local lawmakers and the CM to intervene in the matter.
In June 2015 too students and alumni had fought against land encroachment at the same site but apparently their fight was silenced.
Illustrious college and distinguished alumni
The Sri Raja Rangaiah Apparao (SRR) and Chunduri Venkata Reddy (CVR) College, popularly known as the SRR & CVR Government Degree College, was started in 1937 with only two undergraduate courses. Today it provides education to around 4,000 students in more than 40 specialisations.
Popular poet Viswanatha Satyanarayana and former Tamil Nadu Governor PS Ram Mohan Rao are some of the well-known alumni of the college. Former Chief Minister and popular yesteryears actor Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao and many Telugu politicians also studied in this institution.