Undeterred by cases booked against them by police, tribal farmers in Peddaganjam village on Monday stepped up their stir for getting back the lands taken over for Vadrevu and Nizampatnam Port and Industrial Corridor Project (Vanpic).
Backed by the CPI(M), men and women from the ST Colony in the remote village plunged into direct action. Planting red flags on the land, they ploughed it with tractors in a bid to start cultivation during the khariff season.
Leading the stir, a tribal elder K. Bujji said 46 acres of land assigned to them during the Indira Gandhi regime was forcibly taken away in the name of the project in 2008. Jobs were promised for both men and women then. “Since no industry has been set up, we are clueless on how to make a living. Our land should be returned forthwith.”
“We parted with our land under coercion. We will not rest till our lands are returned to us to do what we best know — farming,” asserted another farmer Bojja Devaiah.
“'We have been cultivating paddy since my father’s time here and harvesting about 30 bags of paddy per acre. We are like fish out of water without our land. We want our lands back,” added another farmer Komaragiri Srinu.
Superintendent of Police K Raghuram Reddy said, “We have not received any complaint so far from any quarter. We will act in coordination with revenue officials in the matter.”.
Extending the party’s support to the stir, CPI (M) Parchur division secretary M. Vasantha Rao pressed for withdrawal of cases registered against the tribal people for alleged criminal trespass. The government should return the land taken over for the project to the farmers with an average holding of 50 cents.
VANPIC Vyatireka Porata Committee convenor P. Shankar said the government should immediately cancel the GOs issued for handing over 13,000 acres of lands assigned to weaker sections of people.
The government should keep the promise made by Rural Development Minister Dokka Manikyavaraprasada Rao for cancellation of the project while conducting ‘Yeruvaaka’ programme in Alooru in support of VANPIC oustees on the eve of by-elections, said A. P. Rythu Sangam District Secretary N. Ranga Rao.