Farmers’ bid to take back land in Kakinada SEZ leads to tension

Land remained vacant for the last several years, they say

October 01, 2018 01:38 am | Updated 01:38 am IST - KAKINADA

Tension prevailed at the Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) on Sunday when the farmers backed by the activists of the Left, the YSR Congress and the Jana Sena parties tried to barge into the KSEZ land and commence transplantation as part of the ongoing fight demanding reversion of the land to the farmers.

The police, however, made heavy deployment and took into the custody all those who tried to enter the KSEZ premises. The agitation had been going on for the last three days with the farmers deciding to take up tilling and transplantation in the land acquired by the government for the KSEZ but remained vacant for the last several years. Besides filing petitions in the court and staging agitations every now and then, some of the farmers from the Uppada Kothapalli mandal and nearby areas were hell-bent on getting their land back, as they had been opposing the acquisition from the very beginning. Initially, the CPI(M) extended its support to the agitating farmers and subsequently, all the Opposition parties joined the bandwagon.

As the tilling programme was chalked out in advance and the crowd mobilisation was in progress, the police made preventive house arrests of key leaders.

In response to the call given by the KSEZ Vyatireka Porata Committee, farmers and supporters of the Opposition parties gathered at Ramanakkapeta in the morning. They raised slogans against the government and demanded return of the land as there was no industrial development so far. Though the police did not mention numbers, the CPI(M) leaders said at least 200 people were taken into custody at the KSEZ. “The government is trying to snub the movement by using the police force. The farmers have been fighting for long and even Chandrababu Naidu extended solidarity to them in the capacity of the Opposition leader in 2014,” pointed out K. Veera Babu and M. Rajasekhar of the party. District unit secretary of the CPI Tatipaka Madhu wondered why the farmers were not allowed to register their protest in a democratic manner.

Assistant General Manager of the GMR Group M. Srimanth Reddy, in a statement here, said land was acquired in a lawful manner and compensation was paid as per the rules. “After taking over the KSEZ, the GMR has even made excess payment than the award to the farmers. Setting up of industrial units is in different phases and we have been into social service through the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation as part of fulfilling our corporate social responsibility.” He said some anti-social elements were trying to provoke the gullible farmers and creating law and order problems.

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