Farmers worried that promises made by Naidu may not be kept by new CM
Uncertainty looms large over Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, in the wake of post-poll realities as jagan is new CM of AP.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, President of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), who will be swearing-in as the new Chief Minister on May 30, had already announced a probe into ‘land scams’ in the capital region.
The previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government led by N Chandrababu Naidu had commenced work on the capital after acquiring 33,000 acres in the Mangalagiri-Guntur region through land pooling.
‘Benami owners will be hit’
As per ‘the 9.14 agreement’ between farmers and the State government, the latter has to hand back plots to all farmers who gave lands, with physical infrastructure. However, this process has not been completed yet.
“Will the new government honour the promise of previous government? This is our major concern now,’’ said Ramesh, a farmer from Mandadam village in the capital region.
Some also fear that the capital might be moved away to some other location by the YSRCP for political and economic gains.
“Even during the election campaign, jagan hinted at taking a re-look at the capital. His statement on Sunday indicating a probe further confirms our fears,’’ says Narayana in Velagapudi village.
There is also a feeling that in view of the legal protection, there may not be big loss as well. “Any government will have to honour legal commitments, or else, the farmers can seek their land back,’’ said Raghava Reddy of Kunchanapalli Village.
“In fact, more than farmers, there are many benami owners of land who will be hit if there is a probe,’’ he added.
Dip in land prices?
According to E Sekhar, a realtor, new registrations have almost been halted in the region after the elections and the expected win of the YSRCP. “There has been a 20-25 per cent dip in prices for those who wish to sell immediately,’’ he said.
In the last five years, however, land prices have spiralled in Tulluru, Velagapudi, Mandadam, Nerukonda and Nelapadu, among others. The value has shot up from ₹30-70 lakh to ₹3-4 crore an acre.
As per the estimates of the previous government, the cost of construction of a new capital has been pegged at ₹51,000 crore. As the State’s debt now stands at ₹2.57 lakh crore, it remains to be seen how the new government will mobilise funds and honour the promises made by the TDP government to farmers who gave land.