Jagan’s Thursday visit makes AP capital villages edgy

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: Tension is palpable in the capital region villages as leader of opposition in the AP Legislative Assembly and YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy is set to visit the area on Thursday.

While the government has initiated steps to prevent people from attending his meetings, the rank and file of YSR Congress is putting in every effort to make the visit a success. The YSR Congress also wants to use the visit as a show of strength to prove people’s opposition to TDP Government’s policies, particularly the land pooling for capital, failure in paying compensation to farmers and pension to agriculture labourers in the last two years.

There is also resistance from the people to the government’s efforts to take over the assigned and the island lands from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

The villages, which were once the vegetable bowl of the region, wore a barren look as more than 44,000 acres of fertile lands remain without cultivation. These lands used to produce 124 varieties of crops every year and had been the major vegetable supplier to Vijayawada city. Thousands of farm labourers and small farmers, besides hundreds of vendors and dozens of transporters who had been living on the agriculture products here for decades have been rendered jobless. The villages that have been supplying vegetables and fruits like banana and guava are now buying from Vijayawada city.

While some farm hands are migrating to other places in search of work, some others are finding it difficult to eke out a living. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, who have been living on the assigned and lanka lands (islands) for decades are also being rendered landless as their small holdings are taken over by the government for the capital.

YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy is set to address these issues plus the delay in building the capital although the government had acquired the lands two years ago. Except the temporary Secretariat, nothing has been built so far. The government buildings, which are to be built on priority, are delayed, while the government is moving at a greater speed on allocating lands to private companies for educational institutions and hospitals, besides hotels and other establishments.

The people have been looking at the opposition leader, besides Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, to help them fight against the land pooling. Pawan Kalyan had visited Penumaka, Undavalli, Bethapudi and other villages in the past and promised to stand by them. However, he had backed out and had even given a statement in favour of the government advising the farmers to give their lands if they are willing as the capital is also equally important.

Jaganmohan Reddy too had visited the area earlier once and had promised to return their lands if his party had come to power in the next elections. He is against the concentration of the capital in one place and had promised to follow the Sri Krishna Committee recommendations on the capital. While retaining Amaravati as the capital of the State, Jaganmohan Reddy had promised to distribute the capital to various parts, at least around Vijayawada and Guntur cities.

Against this background, Jaganmohan Reddy’s visit will have a greater impact on the government plans for the new capital.

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