The Andhra Pradesh government is acquiring farmlands for housing projects as per the law (Land Acquisition Act, 2013), Agriculture Minister Kurasal Kannababu said on Saturday, as the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) scaled up its attack over the land purchases.
In an official statement, Kannababu said that the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government is aiming to build 30 lakh houses in the next two to three years, at the rate of 15 lakh houses every year, starting from August 26. For this initiative, the government has decided to use 25,842 acres of government land and acquire 16,078 acres of private lands.
Earlier this week, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu alleged that there was a large 'scam' in the housing scheme, and accused YSRCP leaders of turning a welfare scheme into a scam to benefit themselves. The former Chief Minister claimed that the value of the land being acquired was being tampered with, thereby allowing YSRCP leaders in each constituency to "swindle money under the guise of housing for the poor'.
Responding to this, Kannababu on Saturday said that TDP leaders were "unnecessarily creating controversies over the state government housing project and confusing the public".
"Today, TDP leaders are alleging that the state government has acquired lands at an increased price by paying Rs 45 lakh per acre, but during TDP tenure, at the same place Rs 49.27 lakh per acre has been paid," Kannababu said.
"At least from now on, the opposition leaders should avoid such cheap remarks against the government, as people are not going to trust them anymore," the statement read.
Similarly, for the Andhra Pradesh Township and Infrastructure Development Corporation (TIDCO) housing project in Dhavaleswaram, 24 acres have been acquired by paying Rs 64 lakh per acre, he claimed. "Since the farmers are giving up their lands for a cause, we have to be generous towards them and we followed the rules as per the relevant act and paid at a normal rate," he added.
He also mentioned that the previous TDP government had provided only 7.5 lakh houses in its five-year tenure and handed it over to the beneficiaries. It had also left payment of Rs 4,300 crore dues pending to the housing corporation and TIDCO.