VIJAYAWADA: A survey conducted for the first time by Andhra Pradesh on demography and extent of government and private land in 29 villages, where it plans to build its new capital city, has revealed that as much as 52,000 acres of farm land is available. Of this, government land (assigned) is 14,000 acres and land in possession of private individuals is 38,000 acres.
According to sources, the government is expected to take over the entire 52,000 acres either through land pooling or land acquisition in the first phase itself. The government had earlier proposed to acquire only 30,000 acres in the first phase.
By the government covering land and population in these villages has triggered a fresh controversy. The survey revealed that there is 14,000 acres of government land in these villages. Farmers fume at the government for its 'land hunger' as it has been planning to acquire agriculture lands in all the 29 villages.
The government has identified about 38,000 acres of agriculture patta land in the 29 villages. While 21 villages in Tulluru mandal have 33,247 acres of agriculture patta land, eight villages in Mangalagiri and Tadepalli mandals have 5,000 acres. Besides private patta land, there are different types of government land, including 'grama kantham', village 'poramboke', tank 'poramboke', temple land and forest land. The forest and endowments departments own around 1,300 acres in the area. Although most of the government land is under the control of private individuals, the state wants to reclaim it by paying a reasonable compensation to the farmers.
"Initially, the government said it needed 30,000 acres for the new capital city, but now it is planning to take over 52,000 acres. It is simply mindless acquisition at the cost of livelihood of thousands of small and marginal farmers," said local farmers' leader Mallela Harindranath Chowdary.
With the farmers of upland areas in Tulluru mandal willing to part with their land, which accounts for about 15,000 acres, the government can go ahead with construction of the capital city by reclaiming 14,000 acres of its own land, without touching the private property in the riverbank villages, Harindra observed.
Meanwhile, the government said the identified 29 village had a population of nearly 1.2 lakh of which 32,140 are SCs, 4663 STs and 65,000 from other castes. In all, 10,656 farmer families are residing in the capital area and of them 1919 are from SCs, and 417 from STs.
Meanwhile, under pressure from ministers and local legislators, a group of 17 farmers, mostly from the ruling TDP, left for Hyderabad to discuss the issue of land pooling with Chandrababu Naidu.