Fire damages farms in six villages around proposed AP capital

Fire damages farms in six villages around proposed AP capital

A fire allegedly started by some unidentified miscreants this morning damaged banana plantations and pump sheds of farmers in six villages around Tullur in the district, part of which has been earmarked for establishing the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, police said.

After receiving the information, District Collector Kantilal Dande and Superintendent of Police (Urban) Rajesh Kumar reached the villages and interacted with affected farmers.
Revenue Department officials have also taken up the task of assessing the damage.

Asked about the incident, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police J V Ramudu, told reporters that it was "intentional mischief".

He said that banana plantations in six villages were damaged to the extent of a radius of 15 kilometres, which is being probed by the Guntur police.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu ordered the collector to conduct an inquiry and sought a report "immediately".

Meanwhile, demanding a high level inquiry into the fire incident in six villages falling in the orbit of capital city, the main opposition YSR Congress Party slammed Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ministers for levelling "baseless allegations" against its YSR Congress chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.

"This is not an accident but a pre-planned assault on the farmers by setting fire to their farms. It is no coincidence that the mishap occurred only in the farm lands of those who opposed giving up their land. This strengthens the perception that it was an organised incident," YSR Congress official spokesperson Ambati Rambabu told reporters in Hyderabad.

"We demand an inquiry into the incident by CBI or a sitting High Court judge to bring out the real reasons behind the so-called fire, which we consider an act to terrorise farmers who refused to give up their land for the capital," he said.

TDP ministers' statements blaming Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy for the incident are politically motivated and far from truth, he said.

"It is the resolve of the TDP government to build the capital around Tullur, which points the needle of suspicion towards the ruling party. Ministers blaming Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is ridiculous," Rambabu said.

A committee under Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy would visit affected villages tomorrow and submit its report, he said.

"YSR Congress will fight for farmers. We are not against forming the capital but we are against forcible land acquisition and we are against such arm-twisting tactics.

"The fire which occurred only in the fields of those who vehemently opposed giving up land to form the capital raises many doubts. A high-level inquiry is needed and ministers' statements against Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy will boomerang on them," he said.

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