We are farmers, not watchmen!

We are farmers, not watchmen!
Highlights

We are farmers, not watchmen, Farmers of nine villages from the 29 identified, which will be the part of capital region, are up in arms against land pooling.

Farmers of nine villages from the 29 identified, which will be the part of capital region, are up in arms against land pooling. Their firm stand is to save around 135 varieties of crops grown in the villages. The farmers are opposing the move by the government to take their fertile lands where the horticulture and commercial crops are grown along the 18 kilometer stretch from Prakasam Barrage to Borupalem and up to three kilometer stretch from Krishna River.

These farmers, having failed to convince the government against land pooling, have put up boards on their fields categorically stating that they are not prepared to give up their lands to be turned into concrete jungles. The green fertile lands in Undavalli, Penumaka, Venkatapalem, Mandadam, Rayapudi, Uddandarayapalem, Abbirajupalem, Lingayapalem and Borupalem are close to the river bed that give four crops a year.

The revenue that they earn ranges between Rs 35,000 and Rs 1.50 lakh a year either as tenancy or revenue. This land offers daily wages to thousands of families who supply vegetables and fruits to Vijayawada, Guntur and Mangalagiri markets.

“We have been listening to the government, especially Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, for all these days about the proposed compensation. We are not concerned about the compensation. We don’t even want it, if it is to take away our fertile lands,” asserts a farmer Allam Nageswara Rao of Rayapudi village.

He wondered why the Chief Minister had not visited the area after selecting it for the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA).

“They are talking to upland farmers who are willing to give their lands who claim that the farmers are ready for land pooling. This is not correct,” he asserted.

Meka Koti Reddy, a farmer from Penumaka village, ridiculed the government’s claims on land pooling and farmer’s acceptance.

“No farmer from these nine villages is willing to give up the land as being claimed by the government and the Chief Minister,” he said.

Gudibanda Srinivasa Reddy who hails from the same village says that the farmers there cultivate commercial and horticulture crops.

“We are not prepared to trade our lands for 1,000 square yards of plot in a developed capital zone. What can we do on that land? We know only agriculture and we are not prepared to become watchmen at ATM centres or shops and commercial complexes of capitalists,” Srinivasa Reddy asserted.

“We are opposing land pooling because we have been cultivating these lands for several years and thousands of labourers are dependent on these lands. There are small and medium vendors living on these lands, besides the transporters. What will happen to the lives of all these people?” questions Muppera Subba Rao of Penumaka. He reinstated that they would go to any extent to save these fertile lands and 135 varieties of commercial and horticulture crops grown in this area.

By: D Gopi

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