VIJAYAWADA: In December 2014, when the former TDP government notified the development of capital in the then unnamed Amaravati region, the farmers of the region were elated thinking their fortunes will change for the good.
Exactly five years later in December 2019, the farmers, who had given lands for the capital development, said their dreams started collapsing like dominoes when the YSR Congress government announced the three-capital plan. And on Friday, they said, their dreams completely shattered and the damage was irreparable.
“It is a black day. The Governor’s assent to the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation of Governance and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill, 2020 and the APCRDA Repeal Bill, 2020 is nothing but murder of all the farmers," the members of the Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi Joint Action Committee (JAC) said on Friday.
"Our hopes and dreams have shattered," a farmer from Velagapudi lamented after the news of the Governor assenting the two crucial Bills broke out on Friday. "This is nothing, but murder of 1.5 lakh people, who placed their trust in the government," another farmer from Rayapudi added. Their distress is not unfounded as the YSRC government, which has announced decentralisation of governance over seven months ago, has not clarified on what it has in store for Amaravati.
"All that the government has said is that Amaravati will be the Legislative Capital and that they will give our developed plots. What is the use of giving us plots when there is no other development here? The government just wanted to relocate the capital, but did not give any specifics as to how it plans to allay our concerns. Our dreams are shattered. We pinned hopes on the judiciary and executive system, but even they didn’t heed our concerns," Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi JAC said.
The JAC, which had moved the High Court, said that it would continue its fight against the ‘unilateral’ relocation of the capital. "The Governor gave his consent even as the matter is in the court. We will continue our legal battle. We are confident that the State government will face music in the court just like it did in the State Election Commissioner's case," convenor of the JAC A Siva Reddy said.
Though Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, in the State Assembly announced a few sops such as increasing the annuity payments for 15 years instead of the earlier 10, and hiking the landless pension from Rs 2,500 per month to Rs 5,000 per month, but no concrete plan has been announced by the officials as yet.
About 25,398 landowners had accumulated 34,281 acres for development of Amaravati. The government assured them residential and commercial plots in return to the lands taken along with benefits such as annuity and pension for the landless poor (21,643 families).
The plots - ranging between 250 square yards to 1,000 yards for every acre of land taken and the commercial plots ranging between 50 sq yards to 450 sq yards for every acre of land taken — were supposed to be returned within three years of the agreement.