RAYAPUDI (GUNTUR):Describing chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s Land Pooling Scheme as Land Fooling Scheme, social activist Medha Patkar has said that it is a corporate conspiracy meant to grab the farmers’ land and deprive them of their livelihood.
Speaking to newsmen at Rayapudi village in the capital region of the State on Thursday, she said that the National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) would write a letter to the government urging it to stop the “foolish scheme which is not in the interest of the people.”
Medha, who is the founder-convener of NAPM, wondered how could displacement of people from places where they had been living for generations and depriving them of their livelihood be considered as being in public interest. “It will have genocidal effect on the area between Vijayawada and Guntur, which reflects the true spirit of rural economy based on agriculture,” she added.
The NPM leader predicted that the grandiose plans of Naidu would not only get entangled in several litigations, but also would face serious resistance from the farmers, especially their women folk. She described the government move as nothing but ‘land grabbing’ by it under the pretext of procuring land for the capital construction.
Medha said that the constitution of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) was both illegal and irregular and added that the move was tantamount to encroaching upon the people’s rights.
“All the farmers, with whom I have interacted in several villages in the region, have said that they have not volunteered to part with their land but have been forced to sign the consent letters,” she alleged. “Depriving the Dalit farmers from their only source of income by force is tantamount to atrocity against them as per law,” she added.
Medha sought to know why the Naidu government was hell bent on cheating the people of their land. “By the way the land pooling is being done with people being offered a pittance and efforts to take away assigned lands and ‘lanka’ lands for free is nothing but a corporate agenda meant for ‘real estate business’,” she said.
Stating that such measures would only encourage the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to emulate and implement them across the country, she alleged: “Modi is amending law after law. First, it was the Land Acquisition Act, then it was the Labour Act followed by several others. Perhaps the next will be the Constitution itself. But we will not allow that to happen. We will stage a massive ‘Bhumi Adhikar Andolan’ involving 300 organisations in Delhi on May 5,” she said and invited farmers of AP capital region to join the agitation.
Medha, who described land pooling as ‘fake encounters sans weapons’, wanted people of the capital region villages to take inspiration from people of Narmada Valley, who were ready for ‘Jal Samadhi’ in preferece to foregoing their land.
Speaking on the occasion, retired IAS officer MG Devasahayam said that farmers had no need to worry as the ‘consent letters’ that they had given had no legal validity.
“Your land is safe and no one can take it away unless you sign the irrevocable power of attorney,” he said.
Devasahayam, who was the administrative officer of phase-II of Chandigarh, said the AP government’s plan was not capital development but real estate business.
He termed the CRDA as Capital Real Estate Development Agency.