ANDHRA PRADESH

Build airport on our tombs: villagers

“Build the airport on our tombs,” reads a banner tied at Gudepuvalasa in Bhogapuram mandal, bringing to the fore the villagers’ stiff opposition to the international airport planned in an extent of 5,311 acres.

Of the total extent of land, 4,478.77acres will be acquired in three gram panchayats (Gudepuvalasa 1,604.55 acres, Kavulavada - 1,567.82 acres and Kancheru - 1,306.40 acres).The remaining 832.23 acres will be acquired from farmers of six other panchayats - Ravada, Munjeru, Kongavanipalem, Kancherupalem, A. Ravivalasa and Savaravilli panchayats. The notification was published on September 1.

Fearing that Gudepuvalasa, Kavulavada and Kancheru will be wiped out, the villagers, particularly women, are leading the agitation under the aegis of Airport Vythirekha Porata Sangham and have been observing relay fasts in groups. They said they would fight till their last breath to save their land.

A housewife, Pandrapu Lakshmi Narayanamma, who owns half-an-acre and an unfinished house at Gudepuvalasa, said: “We have lost our peace of mind since the notification was published. We voted for the TDP and never anticipated any additional favour from it. I appeal to the Chief Minister not to trouble us.”

“The government is reducing farmers to paupers. Though we have been agitating for the past fortnight, no official has come to enquire about our problems.

“Hence, we have decided to drive them away if they step on our land,” said Bonulu Gowri, an intermediate student.

A small farmer, Bandaru Suribabu, said: “A resort belonging to the ruling party was excluded from the plan purview but 50 cents of my land abutting it was included in the plan.”

Former Nellimarla MLA B. Appala Naidu said since the government stopped land registrations in the notified panchayats, banks had stopped granting loans to farmers, as a result of which marriages of as many as six girls in the village had to be cancelled.



A resort belonging to the ruling party was excluded from the [airport] plan purview but 50 cents of my land abutting it was included in the plan

Bandaru Suribabu,

Farmer