A contingent of farmers from Amaravati is all set to embark on a 45-day Maha Padayatra from Thullur in Guntur district to Tirumala on November 1 to highlight the adverse consequences of splitting Amaravati, into legislative, executive and judicial capitals (Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool respectively) for them personally and the State as a whole.
Former CM N. Chandrababu Naidu had visualized Amaravati as a greenfield capital city of global standards and gave it some shape before the ambitious project ran aground after the YSR Congress came to power in early 2019.
The padayatra will pass through about 70 important villages in Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore and Chittoor districts where the farmers will apprise the people of the alleged injustice being meted to them by the government in the name of decentralisation.
The root cause of the protest is the passage of the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Acts in the Assembly last year in spite of stiff resistance from the farmers who gave about 32,000 acres of multi - cropped lands under the pooling scheme for purportedly transforming Amaravati into a city that matches the style and scale of capitals of various countries.
They have since been protesting against the government's decision to shift the CMO, State Secretariat (both situated in the Interim Government Complex - IGC) at Velagapudi) and the offices of Heads of Departments (currently scattered in Vijayawada - Guntur region) to the port city and the principal seat of the High Court from Nelapadu to Kurnool, leaving only the Legislative Council and Assembly at the present location (IGC).
Up to 100 petitions that challenged the three capitals' Acts are pending final adjudication by the High Court from November 15.
The Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi and Amaravati Farmers' JAC, which are jointly organising the padayatra, had to fight to obtain permission for it from the Police Department.
It was only on High Court directions that the police permitted the farmers to take out the padayatra subject to certain conditions after initially rejecting their formal application on the grounds of law and order. The main conditions are that the farmers should begin the padayatra at 6 a.m. and wind up by 6 p.m. and not hold public meetings en route.