Special Correspondent

Asks Sonia Gandhi to direct the A.P. Government to stop the move

  • "State is diluting Acts that are favouring the poor"
  • Government charged with repression
  • NEW DELHI: The Communist party of India (Marxist) on Thursday asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to direct the Andhra Pradesh Government to stop the regularisation of illegal possession of assigned lands in the State.

    "We want the Rajasekhara Reddy Government to stop regularisation of lands occupied illegally, reverse the order and then take up the process how to re-distribute the lands," Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat and party leaders P. Madhu and V. Srinivasa Rao said here.

    The delegation said the Assignment Act 9/77 mandates the Government to protect the assignees from losing their land as a result of manoeuvres and misdeeds by influential people.

    "That such deprivation of the assigned land has been taking place over the years is a known fact. Even the Chief Minister has, recently, publicly declared some of the assigned lands were in the possession of his family. This land, however, has not yet been transferred to the original beneficiaries. To make matters worse, the Government amended the Assignment Act which favoured the legalisation of illegal possession of these lands by influential sections. The accompanying guidelines of this amendment, if enforced, will ensure that those illegally occupying these lands will become the legal owners," the Left leaders said in a letter to Ms. Gandhi.

    The delegation said that on March 27 the State Government issued a notification utilising such lands for "public purposes" in the Chief Minister's native Kadapa district. "The State Government is diluting the Acts that are favouring the poor, resuming ownership of the land and giving them to the land mafia," Ms. Karat said.

    She said that in the name of economic development and industrialisation, the Government was acquiring lands from the poor, and assigned lands were singularly targeted to avoid payment of compensation. The Government appealed against the Supreme Court direction to pay the assigned land-owners full compensation on a par with others.

    The party said that instead of resolving these issues, the Government resorted to "unprecedented repression" by arresting over 8,000 people and putting over 1,000 in jail.

    As regards the suggestion by Dr. Reddy to appoint a committee of senior CPI (M) and Congress leaders to go into the matter, Ms. Karat said Ms. Gandhi did not mention any such proposal Dr. Reddy claimed to have given to her.