INDIA: Capital roads may gobble up many villages

Sunday 2 November 2014

Date: 2 November 2014

Source:The Times of India

Type: News

Keywords: Land grabbing

GUNTUR: Notwithstanding the AP government’s assurances that it will not take over villages for the construction of the new capital, around three dozen villages in five mandals are likely to disappear from the state map if the government goes ahead with the widening of the existing roads to six or eight lane ones.

The government is planning to lay wide roads connecting the capital area with Vijayawada and Guntur and people on the right bank of river Krishna fear losing their homes too, apart from farm lands, if the capital comes up near Tullur. They fear that many small villages all along the riverbank and up to 16 km from Prakasam barrage will simply be erased from existence.

"The government is acting on a hidden agenda. While 30,000 acres have been proposed for the capital city, what about the land needed for the external roads? Why is it silent on the issue?" wondered N Sambasiva Rao, a farmer of Kuragallu. As most of the roads connecting Tullur and Amaravati are single lane roads (12 to 18 ft), the government would need to acquire thousands of acres of additional land to widen the roads towards the capital.

In addition to this, the government has already proposed laying three outer ring roads. Although it is not clear when and how the ORR would be developed, the government is expected to widen the existing roads on a war footing as it has to move heavy machinery and material for construction works in the capital region.

Due to all of this, many villages close to Tullur and Amaravati, including Dondapadu, Abbarajupalem, Harischandrapura and Vaikunthapuram, are likely to disappear. At least 10 villages including Malkapuram and Uddandarayunipalem will be badly affected. Similarly, Undavalli, Penumaka, Mandadam and Rayapudi are located between Prakasam barrage and Tullur. On the Mangalagiri-Tadikonda route, Kuragallu, Nidamarru, Neerukonda, Nekkallu, Ananthavaram, Vaddamanu and Vaikunthapuram will suffer.

Meanwhile, anger is growing among the farmers of these villages, who say the capital city will be a ’burial ground and not people’s capital’ if the government goes for land pooling by force. "The chief minister and his ministers will have to walk over our bodies if they want to construct the capital on green fields," threatened David Raju of Rayapudi village.

On Saturday, around 500 farmers gathered at the village centre and unanimously resolved not to part with their lands, come what may. "Our fears have come true. Naidu is basically anti-farmer and he is now showing his true colours by proposing to acquire fertile lands," said K Seetharamaiah, a farmer.

Farmers’ leader Mallela Harindranath Chowdary, who organized the meet, said farmers have already lost faith in Chandrababu Naidu as he has failed to fulfill his promise to waive agricultural loans. "Farmers who put faith in him are now being punished," he said.

Bezwada Bar Association (BBA) president Sampara Durga Srinivasa Rao, Bar Council member Sampara Rajendraprasad, and general secretary Vajje Venkata Ravi Kumar visited Rayapudi village and extended support to the farmers.###

See online : The Times of India

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