Andhra Pradesh

Land acquisition stalls A.P. projects

Farmers clash with police personnel during a protest against the Sumitomo power project.

Farmers clash with police personnel during a protest against the Sumitomo power project.  

Farmers have refused to part with land which is not just a source of livelihood but also a link to ancestral roots and a way of life.

Despite the deployment of a heavy police force and an unofficial halt to all government projects, land acquisition for several projects across Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts is proceeding at a snail’s pace. Farmers have refused to part with land which is not just a source of livelihood but also a link to ancestral roots and a way of life.

Uneasy calm

The government’s efforts have sparked off agitations in places like Bhogapuram of Vizianagaram district and Kovvada and Polaki of Srikakulam district. Initially, the government thought the acquisition would be a smooth process for the Bhogapuram airport as it offered Rs.33 lakh per acre. However, farmers rejected the ‘package’, much to the discomfiture of district officials. The State government has reportedly taken a Rs. 600 crore loan from HUDCO anticipating early completion of land acquisition. It had originally planned to acquire 15,000 acres but agreed to reduce it to 2000 acres. It already has 1000 acres but acquiring the remaining 1000 acres is proving impossible for officials.

Uneasy clam prevails in 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 uniformly 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.

N-power plant

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) had deposited around Rs. 389 crore with the Srikakulam Collector’s account to acquire 2000 acres.

The situation is being replicated in Polaki mandal where the Sumitomo Power Corporation has proposed a 4000 MW power project at 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 usua. Money can give us comforts but not happiness in other places,” said M. Ramanamma, a villager of Polaki.

The police department is treading cautiously in handling the situation in Polaki after the resistance to thermal power projects in Sompeta and Kakarapalli resulted in the death of six persons in police firing in separate incidents.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 6:36:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Land-acquisition-stalls-A.P.-projects/article14481696.ece

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