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Can change in govt revive hopes of Amaravati farmers?

The farmers who gave away their lands for the government’s ‘Pooling scheme’ have been waiting endlessly for the ‘returns’ since 2019. They are seething with anger against the Jagan’s government which could affect YSRCP’s winning prospects in at least two assembly segments that come under the core capital area comprising 29 villages.
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 23:05 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 23:05 IST

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Tullur/Rayapudi/Nelapadu: Tullur, the epicenter of the grandiose capital city Amaravati planned by the then N Chandrababu Naidu government in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh was once a bustling town.

The roads in Tullur and surrounding villages used to wear a ‘festive look’ especially during weekends from 2015 up until 2019, as construction labourers from Amaravati used to visit the town.

Cut to April 2024, Tullur wears a deserted look. Tall buildings that were finished, but never occupied and are now abandoned stand witness to the present government's, led by Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, policy to have three capitals instead of one as envisioned by Naidu and is caught in a legal quagmire.

The farmers who gave away their lands for the government’s ‘Pooling scheme’ have been waiting endlessly for the ‘returns’ since 2019. They are seething with anger against the Jagan’s government which could affect YSRCP’s winning prospects in at least two assembly segments that come under the core capital area comprising 29 villages.

However, the caste matrix in these two segments, Tadikonda a SC reserved segment and Mangalagiri, may work for Jagan’s party.

“Had he (Jagan) when in opposition opposed the location of the capital city in and around Tullur we would have not given our lands under the pooling scheme. After coming to power, he betrayed us. For the last two years, we are not getting the annuity amount, so we can't take back the land given to the government as it has become uncultivable. There is no economic activity either that gives us some income. Who would come to such an interior place to do business without the capital tag,” Gadde Surendrababu of Tullur told DH. His family had given 20 acres of land in Tulluru, Ananthavaram, Nelapadu, Sakhamuru, Konda Rajupalem villages.

During the tenure of N Chandrababu Naidu, farmers from 29 villages under a land-pooling scheme, surrendered approximately 34,000 acres. For every acre of land pooled, they were promised 800 to 1,200 sq yards of residential and 100 to 450 square yards of commercial land in the layouts developed by Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), with all amenities.

Now they fear that if the executive arm of the capital goes to Vizag, as part of Jagan’s three capitals, executive at Vizag, judiciary in Kurnool and legislative in Amaravati the value of their sites in Amaravati will drop drastically.

It was on December 17, 2019, barely six months after YSRCP came to power, that Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy hinted in the Assembly that Andhra Pradesh may have three capitals. In the last four years, the government could not, however, implement its three-capital plan due to various reasons.

Later, the issue embroiled into a major political controversy with works on several buildings came to a standstill. Now, many buildings that were at various stages of construction have been abandoned.
A CAG report in 2023 observed that Rs 10,000 crore has been spent since 2016 to develop Amaravati into a world-class capital city.

It was in 2016, Naidu first announced that nine theme cities and 27 townships would come up in Amaravati unveiling his grand capital vision.

“We don’t know what to do other than cultivation. I recently started a small water plant to supply packaged drinking water. I don’t know how long it will go,” rued Kommineni Ramesh of Tullur, who gave seven acres of land.

Chilly, cotton, maize, vegetables and bananas are the major crops that were cultivated by these farmers.

TDP, Jana Sena and the BJP alliance have been promising to restart construction activity after coming to power and complete them within three years.

While in Tadikonda, TDP’s Tenali Sravan Kumar and YSRCP’s former minister, Mekathoti Sucharitha are locking horns, in Mangalagiri, TDP scion Nara Lokesh and a BC leader, a political novice, Murugudu Lavanya contesting on a YSRCP ticket.

In these two segments, Mala, Muslim, Madiga, Reddy and Yadava, Padmashali form the majority vote bank. These sections are seen as the core vote base of YSRCP. Apart from these sections, Kammas, prime supporters of TDP, are also there in considerable numbers in both segments.

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Published 16 April 2024, 23:05 IST

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