Amaravati farmers move HC against govt’s capital move

Farmers of Amaravati, who are perturbed by the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government's move to shift the capital from here to some other place based on the report of an expert committee, have moved High Court. (DH photo)

Farmers of Amaravati, who are perturbed by the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government's move to shift the capital from here to some other place based on the report of an expert committee, have moved High Court. Justice U Durgaparasada Rao after admitting the petitions of the farmers on Friday sent notices to state Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy, Municipal Minister Botsa Satyanarayana, Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney and the five-member Capital City Experts committee chairman GN Rao. The hearings will be held on November 28.

“We gave away our ancestral property to the earlier government only after it promised us that Andhra Pradesh needs a capital and our lands will be put to use in developing one. Now that the government had plans to shift it and an expert committee started touring our villages, we have no other option than knocking the doors of the court,” Rama Rao, a farmer who filed the petition against the proposed plan to shift the capital told reporters.

The farmers sought the High Court to direct the government to continue construction work of the capital in Amaravati and argued that the government’s move to halt construction work is against the spirit of the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Act 2014. The farmers said in their petition that the government in different forums made it clear that it is in no mood to continue the capital in the present location and is only waiting for the expert committee report to take a final call.

The farmers feel that they can't go back to farming the land after five years of keeping it fallow. Also, a part of the 30,000 acres of land has been converted into concrete. So, they demanded the government to continue the project as the Nara Chandrababu Naidu government assured them higher returns of the land that they have pooled.

The High Court also expressed its displeasure over the prolonged delay of the Jagan’s government in coming out openly over the fate of the state capital. “If you (Government) can't decide, then the court has to take a decision. We are unable to get even a cup of tea here,” Chief Justice JK Maheswari noted .

With the government giving a stop order after taking over in June, all the men and women workers left the capital area. All the hotels have been shut down due to lack of demand. The Jagan government also shut down Anna Canteens that doled out Rs 5 per plate food forcing small-time hoteliers out of the vast land. High court justices and even IAS officers and MLAs are all living far away from Amaravati in rented accommodations as work on their quarters has stopped.

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