Intensifying his stir in support of Vanpic oustees, Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday made it clear that his party was not against industrial development per se but it should not at the cost of local people.
“'Development should be without displacement of local farmers and fishermen. It should in fact improve the living conditions of the common people,” he opined while winding up his two-day long visit of Prakasam and Guntur districts in support of the farmers and others pressing for cancellation of all the GOs issued for land acquisition for the project.
When the government had cancelled agreements with Brahmani Steels and the Bayyaram mining lease, what prevented it from cancelling the Vanpic project deal, he asked.
Questioning the way lands were acquired for 133 Special Economic Zones in the State, he said: 'SEZs should not be promoted at the cost of the poor.
He mooted setting up ports on government lands in Vodarevu and Nizampatnam and development of road and other common infrastructure by the government to facilitate setting up of industries so that people living in the vicinity benefit by way of appreciation in land value and jobs in new industries.
Joined by farmers and activists of the TDP, CPI, and BJP, Mr. Naidu ploughed with tractors lands taken over for Vanpic.
As farmers and others uprooted over 20 polls and removed the fencing put by Vanpic, Mr. Naidu followed by party senior leaders K. Yerrannaidu, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, and K. Krishnamurthy tilled the lands with tractors to facilitate cultivation of the land by farmers from this kharif.
Amidst loud cheers, Mr. Naidu along with party district president D. Janardhan said: This only the beginning of a series of stirs. I will come back after 15 days and camp here and give moral support to fight till lands are restored back to those who owned them prior to 2008'.
He suggested formation of joint action committee cutting across party-lines to carry forward their agitation.
He assured the agriculturists in the fight for unconditional withdrawal of cases registered against those farmers who had entered the VANPIC land in Peddaganjam and other places.
Mr Naidu, who walked a distance of four km from Gundayipalem along with party activists and farmers, cited the example of development of hi-tech city, which he maintained, had benefited the people of Cyberabad. For every acre given to corporates during the then TDP regime, 1,000 jobs for were created, he contended.
In contrast, over 8000 people who had parted with over 28,000 acres of land for VANPIC, had been given “'peanuts” as compensation, while middlemen made big money as over Rs. 300 crore had been misappropriated in the process.
He alleged big scams in the exploitation of natural resources, including iron and coal mines.
The local people have been reduced to landless labourers migrating to other places in search of jobs, he added.
He promised to strive for lift irrigation schemes as and when the TDP comes to power.
CPI district secretary K. Aruna and BJP Ongole city president Y. Ch. Yogaiah Yadav spoke.