HYDERABAD: In a major embarrassment to Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, deputy chief minister K E Krishnamurthy on Sunday raised objections to the land pooling policy for the new capital and said it was detrimental to hundreds of farmers.
"The concerns of the farmers are legitimate and acquiring land for the new capital would be wrong without addressing them. We should go ahead with the land acquisition only after the farmers say they are satisfied with the scheme," said Krishnamurthy, who holds the revenue portfolio, but has stayed away from the cabinet capital sub-committee."I categorically told the chief minister that I did want to be a member of the sub-committee. It is my decision to stay away," the deputy chief minister told reporters in East Godavari.
Krishnamurthy, who hails from Kurnool district, said he stayed away from the cabinet sub-committee as he did not want to hurt the sentiment of the people of his region who have been demanding that the capital be located in Rayalaseema. While he refused to elaborate on his stand on the new capital policy of the government, privately he has made it clear about his stand that the capital must be built at a place where government land is available in abundance.
"Krishnamurthy's stand is that the land acquisition rigmarole can be avoided if the new capital is planned where government land is available," said a source close to the deputy chief minister.
Incidentally, Krishnamurthy's home district Kurnool has 30,000 acres of vacant government land. "If the government had heeded to the demands of the people of Rayalaseema, it would have avoided the wrath of the farmers in Vijayawada-Guntur area as well as the unrest in the Rayalaseema region," the source said.
Commenting on the compensation to be paid to land owners, Krishnamurthy said that instead of going in for a uniform formula, the government should decide the amount depending on the level of fertility and the type of crop yield on the particular land parcel.
Krishnamurthy's objections have come at a time when the AP government is expediting the land pooling process with the chief minister even meeting farmers last week to hear their grievances. The government has decided to constitute six revenue teams and one legal cell to oversee the process of land pooling. The cabinet sub-committee, headed by finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu has held discussions on the demands made by farmers.
The sub-committee was of the opinion that among the 29 villages in the proposed capital region, many villagers and farmers were willing to give their lands. The six revenue teams will meet the farmers and complete the formalities soon, it was learnt. Agreements between the landowners and CRDA will be legalised under the AP Capital Region Development Authority.