HYDERABAD: Besides trying to paint a rosy picture of the new capital city by stating that it would be like Singapore in every aspect, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has promised farmers the moon.
Allotment of some land in the commercial clusters, a government job for each family and making them entrepreneurs in the capital region are some of the assurances given by Naidu during his lengthy interaction with farmers of the villages identified for building the capaital.
The meeting took place at Lake View Guest House here on Tuesday late evening. The meeting, which was aimed at persuading the farmers to give their lands for the capital, turned out to be a meeting of “TDP supporters”, as the government took all measures to ensure that land-owners with opposing views were not brought to the interaction.
Interestingly, there was mixed response from the farmers who took part in the meeting, even though the government had taken precautions to keep the “naysayers” at bay, to Naidu’s proposals.
The meeting which started four hours behind schedule due to the cabinet meeting, witnessed farmers shooting questions at Naidu. It is learnt that most of the farmers, who took part in the meeting, were ready to part with their land if a good package was offered to them.
D Srinivas Rao of Kuragallu in Mangalgiri mandal, who holds five acres of land, said he did not like the way the chief minister tried to persuade them.
“If the government pays a better package and safeguards our interests by providing jobs and bank deposits, no farmer will oppose land pooling,” he said later.
Another farmer from Nidamarru in Mangalgiri, I Ramesh Babu, who owns 20 acres, said, “It is a great opportunity and I do not want to lose it. I am ready to surrender my land, provided a better package is offered.”
Much to the chagrin of the about 200 farmers, who were ferried to the meeting, Naidu held face-to-face interaction with just a dozen of them after his PowerPoint presentation over his recent ‘Singapore experience’.
Sources said Naidu had not given any specific assurance to the farmers on the packages they demanded. He just told them that their interests would be safeguarded.
Lending credence to the observation that only such farmers who were willing to give their lands, were allowed to the meeting, Supreme Court lawyer Shyama Sundari, who has ancestral lands at Abbarajupalem village in Tullur mandal, was denied entry to the venue.
Enraged, she spoke to the media in front of the Lake View Guest House, saying that the move of the TDP government to acquire lands from farmers was illegal and unconstitutional. “I am not against capital city coming up in Tullur area. But fertile lands should not be touched,” she remarked.
According to her, most of the farmers in the villages are opposed to the government’s very idea of building the capital city on fertile lands.
Earlier, after making the farmers wait for over four hours, Naidu, instead of addressing their concerns directly, tried to sell them Singapore dream. He talked about his recent visit to Singapore and how the new capital would resemble Singapore.