UDA dilly-dallying on withdrawal of land acquisition notification

The general elections are round the corner. But, the promises made to small plot owners in Ambapuram village are yet to be fulfilled. The plot owners are running from pillar to post in Vijayawada Guntur Tenali Mangalagiri Urban Development Authority (VGTMUDA) seeking withdrawal of land acquisition notification.

In the run up to the general elections in 2009, a section of the people of Mutyalampadu area reportedly worked against Congress candidate Malladi Vishnu in the Vijayawada Central Assembly constituency, as they held him responsible for the “mental strain” caused by the notices served to acquire their lands for the township during his tenure as Chairman of the UDA. Mr. Vishnu reportedly promised them the township project would be shelved, if he was elected.

Meanwhile, the High Court has set aside the draft notification following writ petitions filed by the farmers and plot owners seven years ago. The plot owners and farmers have also knocked every possible door, including the Governor and the Human Rights Commission. But, there is no improvement. The UDA has not taken any decision to withdraw the land acquisition (LA) notification.

There is no full-fledged Board, and there is a change of guard three times since the project was conceived in 2006. The LA notifications were issued on February 8, 2007, and February 27, 2008.

The UDA is under Special Officer’ rule after Mr. Vishnu’s tenure came to an end. The UDA and the State government hold each other responsible for withdrawal of the LA notification. Neither the UDA nor the State government has made a formal statement that the township proposal has been shelved and land acquisition notification is being withdrawn.

The fate of their lands is hanging fire due to the indecisiveness of the State government and UDA officials. The plot owners lament that the Registration Department is not registering sale transactions as the lands are notified under the Land Acquisition Act. “As there is no formal announcement, the brokers are cheating the plot owners saying that the notification is still in force,” says P. Koteswara Rao, president of Maa Bhoomi, an organisation that fought on behalf of the plot owners. Mr. Vishnu said, “He will take up the matter with the government to sort out technical problems if any.”

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