Farmers on Saturday began their three-day padayatra from Kanaparthi to protest against government's attempts to acquire their lands for Genco to set up a thermal power station near Ongole.

They plan to walk through 14 affected villages to gather momentum for their movement and reach Ongole for a massive dharna at Prakasam Bhavan on Tuesday.

The government has issued a notification to acquire 2,500 acres of land in 14 villages surrounding Kanaparthi. But farmers are vehemently opposing the proposal on the plea that they are all paddy lands under Gundlakamma lift irrigation scheme and the acquisition will deprive them of their livelihood.

Muppavarapu Veeraiah Chowdary of Ammanabrole, who is leading the padayatra, said that they were mobilising support from all the 14 villages keeping politics away. He said that while land acquisition would affect farmers, thermal power station itself would lead to pollution and affect the entire population in the region. He said as many as 75,000 tonnes of coal would be burnt for power generation at the proposed thermal station. Some 1,000 farmers are participating in the padayatra that began at Kanaparthi this morning and reached Vinodarayanipalem for lunch. The agitators would make night halt in the open fields of Machavaram tonight. The villagers are extending warm welcome to the agitators and making arrangements for their food and stay, he said.

Dharna

They are planning to mobilise 10,000 people for dharna at Ongole on Tuesday.

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