What Neelam did, Nara is undoing
I was around 13 or 14 years old at that time. I don’t know whether the capital was in Kurnool or Hyderabad. All that I remember even today is that the then Chief Minister Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy visited this area one day and laid foundation stone for the karakatta (flood bank) and saved us from frequent floods.
Farmers re-emphasise value of their lands
- They say Sanjeeva Reddy was responsible for development of flood bank and electricity that developed agriculture
- They rue that Chandrababu Naidu is now destroying everything
“I was around 13 or 14 years old at that time. I don’t know whether the capital was in Kurnool or Hyderabad. All that I remember even today is that the then Chief Minister Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy visited this area one day and laid foundation stone for the karakatta (flood bank) and saved us from frequent floods. He also gave us electricity supply for the first time,” recounts Bezawada Venkateswara Rao, a farmer from Mandadam village of Thulluru mandal.
Venkateswara Rao’s father Peda Subbaiah was active in the village those days and had very good contacts with GV Rathaiah and Kancharla Anjaiah who were instrumental in bringing Sanjeeva Reddy to the area to give relief to the area from Krishna River floods. He recounts that they used to swim through the flood water for nearly six months a year. The flood bank constructed along the river some two kilometers away from the village had saved them and had given them a chance to pursue agriculture as their livelihood.
“We had 30 acres of land and I have two sons and a daughter. They are married and settled who also pursue agriculture for their living. They did not study beyond school level. They are living on these lands for all these years,” Venkateswara Rao recalls. Venkateswara Rao thanks Sanjeeva Reddy for the flood bank.
“But for him, we would not have been like what we are today. We now say these lands are very fertile because he made them so by constructing the flood bank and gave us a new lease of life,” Venkateswara said. He now takes a long breath to regret the present crisis caused by the government’s proposal to take away their fertile lands for building a new capital for the State. When asked about the high value that their lands are getting now, he blushes and shouts, “What can we do with the money?” He says the money will get over soon, but the land will remain forever.
“The land is our life. We have been working on it for generations. But, if we have money, we will spend it and stand on the roads empty hands in no time,” he fears and pleads with the government to leave their lands. “Sanjeeva Reddy is from Rayalaseema. He did so much for us here. Chandrababu Naidu is also from Rayalaseema. But he is undoing what Sanjeeva Reddy had done,” Venkateswara comments with heavy heart. He says that majority of the farmers from the village share his feelings as they have been living on these lands.
“My two sons went to Chandrababu Naidu twice – once to Hyderabad and second time to Vijayawada. But, what they told me was that they did not get a chance to speak,” he said and looks at everyone to help them retain their lands and continue living.