ANDHRA PRADESH

TDP alleges alteration in CRZ rules by Congress

Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: TDP MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao on Thursday charged the Government with colluding with industrialists and realtors to cut mangroves on the coast near Machilipatnam with the ulterior motive of grabbing huge tracts of lands ahead of the development of Bandar Port.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Umamaheswara Rao pointed out that the mangroves formed a natural protective shield for the coastal people in times of cyclones, tidal waves and such natural calamities. He alleged that the Chief Ministers’ relatives and friends developed vested interest in taking possession of huge lands in the area, so that their value would go up after the development of the port.

Vested interests

Mr. Umamaheswara Rao also alleged that the present district Collector N. Sridhar was under tremendous pressure to give a report that the lands along the coast did not come under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-1, so that the vested interests close to the Government could carry out their nefarious designs. “My information is that the Collector has not yielded to the Government’s pressure tactics. In a few days, the Collector is likely to be transferred,” he said.

The TDP MLA maintained that the CM’s office had made the Collector hang around in Secretariat in Hyderabad for the last two days only to make him come to their terms on the question of getting the lands in question out of the CRZ-1. It was “cruel” on the part of the Government to prevent the district Collector from reaching out to farmers at a time when over 3 lakh acres of paddy had been damaged due to Khai Muk cyclone, he added.

Mr. Umamaheswara Rao threatened to launch a massive agitation if the State Government continued to ignore the sugarcane farmers’ demand for payment of a price of Rs. 1,875 a tonne as per the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee. These farmers were in deep crisis, as the cost of cultivation had gone up, making them spend Rs. 55,000 an acre this year.

Mr. Rao charged Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal with bringing pressure on the paper mills’ managements not to give a good price to help farmers just because the credit might go to the TDP.

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