Protesting against the alleged move to acquire fertile agricultural lands for the proposed Khammam-Devarapalli greenfield national highway project, scores of farmers from nine mandals in the district staged demonstration here on Thursday.
The aggrieved farmers from Khammam urban, Chintakani, Thallada, Konijerla, Wyra, Penuballi, Kallur, Vemsoor and Sattupalli mandals gathered at the Dharna Chowk and staged a sit-in opposing the proposed greenfield project, citing the alleged imminent loss of large tracts of agricultural lands due to the impending land acquisition for the project. The demonstrators demanded that the greenfield project be shelved and instead the existing stretch of the Khammam-Devarapalli State highway be developed without causing any loss to agricultural productivity and thereby the farmers.
Loss of fertile tract
Addressing the demonstrators, M. Gopalakrishna, a farmer from Rajugudem in Vemsoor mandal alleged that, the proposed project entails loss of fertile agricultural lands to an extent of 2500 acres spanning nine mandals in the district, thus affecting the sole source of livelihood of thousands of farmers. He suggested that the 95-km stretch between Ponnekal in Khammam rural mandal and Tummuru in Sattupalli mandal adjoining the inter-State boundary with Andhra Pradesh should be developed by expanding the road along the existing track.
Some other aggrieved farmers contended that the the proponents of the greenfield project, those reportedly trying to project reduction of distance and travel time as advantages of the project should take into account the “irreparable damage” it inflicts on the livelihoods of thousands of farmers in the district.
They said they would organise a sustained movement to safeguard their livelihood.