Seemandhra Govt’s demand for 1L acres for new capital receives flak

By MN Samdani

VIJAYAWADA: The state government’s report to GoM on the need for one lakh acres of land for the new capital has farmers in Krishna and Guntur districts worried. Farmers especially of small and marginal land holdings fear that they would lose their source of livelihood.

In fact, industrialists, who strongly advocate for Vijayawada-Guntur region as the capital of residuary Andhra Pradesh, are also surprised over the official report sent by the state government. Though construction of state capital does not mean just secretariat and assembly buildings alone, experts in the construction sector feel that even an ultra modern capital city might not require such a vast tract of land.

They argue that the mistake of concentrating development only around the capital city as in the case of Hyderabad should not be repeated. Thus the proposed capital city may not require massive land acquisition. “All new developmental projects including industrial zones, educational and health centres should be scattered in all districts of Seemandhra for equitable development of the region,” observed Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ajoint secretary D Ramakrishna.

Otherwise, people who own land around the proposed capital city, will become victims of development instead of beneficiaries, he noted. Acquisition of one lakh acres even in a phased manner may only land the entire process in legal tangles leading to unrest and chaos in the new capital, said senior advocate Jammula Muralidhar. He explained how the district administration failed to acquire just 400 acres of land for expansion of Gannavaram airport in the past five years.

With Krishna and Guntur districts having green fields and cultivable land, acquisition will surely create unrest among the farming community, said professor LSN Prasad of Aacharya Nagarjuna University. Both the districts put together have a cultivable land of nearly 25 lakh acres, of which 90% is owned by small and marginal farmers.

“It is shocking. I do not understand why a capital city requires so much of land,” said Muttavarapu Muralikrishna, industrialist and president of ACCI. He said 5000 acres spread over Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Gannavaram-Ibrahimpatnam should be more than enough for the new capital. He said they had proposed the region for capital keeping in view the existing infrastructure such as rail, road, and air and water connectivity to the rest of the world and availability of abundant water resources.

He feared that the region could lose the battle for capital if the government really wanted to acquire huge land. “Farmers will revolt against any forcible acquisition as they are already worried about their fate after the division as there is no guarantee for water releases from projects,” said farmer leader and ICRA member MVS Nagi Reddy.

He alleged that chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had ruined the state with his ‘lopsided’ policies and farmers are not ready to tolerate anymore. A realtor, G Chandrasekhar, apprehended that the report about the acquisition of massive land for capital would not do any good to the region as people would fear to invest in the region.

He said the real estate market has been sluggish ever since the agitation for samaikyandhra began four months ago, and the proposal for large scale land acquisition will hit the sector further.

Source: Times of India

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