AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has resolved the 15-year old issue of farmers' lands and returned 2,180 acres of land notified for acquisition for the Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) to them on Tuesday. This was also one of the promises made by the Chief Minister to the agitating farmers during the padayatra when he was the Leader of the Opposition.
The Chief Minister had set up a committee headed by Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kannababu to resolve the problem of farmers in Kakinada SEZ as per his promise. The committee consulted with the farmers as well as a committee, which was fighting against the Kakinada SEZ and made recommendations for the benefit of farmers.
The Cabinet approved the report of the committee with recommendations at a Cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat on Tuesday under the chairmanship of CM YS Jagan. The Cabinet also approved the recommendations of the Committee to refund the amount deposited for K-SEZ as these lands were being returned to the farmers.
Other recommendations are as follows:
-People of six villages -- Srirampuram, Bandipeta, Mummidivaripodu, Pativaripalem, Ravivari Podu and Ramaraghavapuram -- need not be vacated as proposed by the previous governments.
-All the burial grounds taken away from these villages will be returned. Restrictions imposed on land transactions in these villages under 22A of the Registration Act will be lifted.
-The Cabinet also decided to provide Rs 5 lakh more per acre to 657 acres of land notified for the SEZ in addition to the already announced compensation by the government and GMR company.
-All the cases registered against the farmers during protests against acquisition of their lands for the KSEZ, will be withdrawn.
Pithapuram: The SEZ affected farmers here have expressed happiness over the Cabinet decision of returning their land to them. They poured milk over a picture of the YS Jagan as gratitude for the Chief Minister who kept his promise made during the Praja Sankalpa Yatra in Pithapuram.
A few years ago, under the name of Kakinada SEZ in the Pithapuram constituency 10,000 acres of land in the Kothapalli mandal as well as several villages in the Tuni constituency were forcibly acquired for the SEZ. Local farmers have been raising protests ever since.
When the TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu came to power in 2012, he announced whose lands would be given back to them. Chandrababu Naidu supported the agitation of farmers and promised to protect their lands. However, after forming the government, only a compensation hike for the land was proposed, which the agitating farmers rejected.
The farmers brought their problem to the attention of YS Jagan who came to Pithapuram during the padayatra, to which he promised to solve their problems.
The AP State Cabinet which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, resolved to return the 2,180 acres of land to farmers putting an end to the15 year -old issue.
Another notable aspect is that this was the second such instance in the country, where the lands notified for the Special Economic Zones in Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal were returned to the farmers following their opposition to the projects.