Andhra Pradesh

Cash offer failing to lure farmers

They are bluntly rejecting ‘package’ for land acquisition, causing embarrassment to officials

Land is an inalienable part of a farmer’s life not only because it’s their source of bread and butter but also it’s associated with their forefathers for generations. They don’t like to snip the bond though agriculture has of-late not been a lucrative profession. Many villagers don’t attach much importance for money since they want to lead life peacefully in their native places. This attachment is the root cause of the agitations in places like Bhogapuram of Vizianagaram district and Kovvada and Polaki of Srikakulam district. The districts may be different but the sentiment is the same. Officials could not acquire even an inch in those places though the projects were proposed long ago.

Deployment of heavy police force and unofficial ban on government schemes could not force the villagers there to part with land. Initially, the Government thought the acquisition would be a smooth process for the Bhogapuram airport as it offered Rs.33 lakh per acre. The amount is huge but the farmers bluntly rejected the ‘package’, causing embarrassment to district officials. The State government has reportedly taken Rs. 600 crore loan from HUDCO anticipating early completion of land acquisition. It has originally planned to acquire 15,000 acres but had agreed to lower it to 2000 acres. Interestingly, it has 1000 acres on its own but getting the remaining 1000 acres has turned into a nightmare for officials.

Uneasy clam prevails in many villages such as Gudepuvalasa, Kancheru and Kavulavada of Bhogapuram mandal with the frequent visits of revenue officials and survey teams. Vizianagaram Revenue Divisional Officer R. Srinivasa Rao and other officials have been meeting farmers for the last few days but the response is almost negative. “Who wants money and so called packages when entire life gets disturbed with displacement? The resistance will continue even if the Government enhances the price to take lands from us,” K. Appala Naidu, a villager, said.

The same is the case with the Kovvada atomic power plant where the land acquisition process is going at a snail’s pace. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) deposited around Rs. 389 crore with the Srikakulam Collector’s account to acquire 2000 acres. The scene is almost a replica in the Polaki mandal where the Sumitomo power corporation has proposed a 4000-mega watts power project with an estimated cost of Rs. 18,000 crore. “We don’t want those packages and lakhs of rupees. We insist the Government allow us to lead peaceful life as usual. Money can give us comforts but not happiness in other places,” said M. Ramanamma, a villager of Polaki.

Meanwhile, the police department is very cautious in handling the situation in Polaki mandal as it had bitter experiences in Sompeta and Kakarapalli where six persons were killed in police firing in separate incidents while opposing thermal power projects.

Many police personnel received serious injuries in those incidents. The senior officials are monitoring the day to day situation in Polaki where survey teams could not enter villages like Chidivalasa, Odipadu, Sanyasirajupeta, Korada, Latchayyapeta and Gavarampeta.



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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 2:40:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Cash-offer-failing-to-lure-farmers/article14483272.ece

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