Provide Livelihood To Poor, Restore Peace In Amaravati Region

The decision of the previous government to establish the State capital at Amaravati was a disaster in the making. It led to a slow death in the political economy of 29 villages earmarked for the capital. A thriving farming community was caught in an unsustainable State-sponsored speculative business. They woke up to a rude shock when the present government decided to reduce Amaravati into a legislative capital. The decision taken by the present government has created a new set of problems. The special package offered them by the State government remains an empty promise to date. So far, it has done next to nothing to improve their living conditions, especially that of the landless poor in that region.

A three-member HRF team visited Tulluru, Rayapudi, Velagapudi Undavalli and Nidamarru villages in the Amaravathi area of Guntur district on February 22 and met local people so as to elicit facts. HRF is in principle in favour of decentralization of development and governance and is of the firm belief that it helps, among other things, address the problem of regional imbalance that the State is confronted with time and again. In 2014 itself, we had opposed setting up of the capital at Amaravati as it was an unsustainable proposition and we stand by that decision. From the start, the previous government sold an impossible dream to the people of the area and played havoc with their lives.

And now, this government has thrown a surprise without coming up with alternatives for the proper restoration of the lives of the people of Amaravati region. There have been reports of a special package to the local people but there has been no official notification to that effect. For instance, it promised that pension for the landless poor families would be enhanced from Rs 2500 to Rs 5000 but they have not even been paid the Rs 2500 over the past three months. If this amount is handed over, the landless poor and Dalits will at least not be compelled to search for work in other villages. It would be of much relief to the old.       

In the name of capital formation, the previous government managed also to obtain lands from the Dalits and other marginalized communities. People who were earlier working their own fields began to be engaged in construction work after the capital region development started. Soon, as the present government took charge, it cancelled the old contracts and did not enter into new ones. The local workforce thereby lost labour in the villages and have been left with no alternative but to seek work elsewhere. Earlier, the local community had rented out their buildings to house the employees and to the skilled and unskilled labour who were engaged in the capital development work. Once the present government called off the works, the migrant work force and employees left the region. This also had a rippling effect leading to a substantial loss of income to the villagers including small-time traders, vegetable and fruit vendors.

During land pooling by the earlier government, while some people of the 29 villages gave their lands voluntarily, others parted with their lands as they were coerced into it. Only a determined few said no to the exercise. While some welcomed the changes that took place between 2015 and 2019, others did not.  However, both these groups have had to face the negative consequences of the then government’s choice as well as the present government’s decision. It has impacted all communities.

HRF strongly urges the government to rise to the occasion and bail out the people of the area who are under a lot of pressure. Transparency and consultation are the hallmark of good governance. Both governments have given a go by to these cardinal principles with respect to the location of the capital. Much like its predecessor, the present government is committing similar mistakes. We feel that instead of registering criminal cases against the agitators the government should initiate a sincere, meaningful and democratic dialogue with the people who are protesting. 

In the village of Nidamarru, farmers have started cultivation. This was possible as the land use in that area was not altered. The government must begin the process of classifying land that is fit for cultivation, land that has to be restored for cultivation and land that is required for the legislative capital.     

Given the sudden announcement of shifting of capital, people of that region are under immense psychological pressure. The hype being created around the whole issue by the opposition party and a few media groups is only compounding this stress. We appeal to the media to cover news in a responsible manner. 

HRF demands that the government provide livelihood to the landless poor, build labour intensive small scale and cottage industries, hand over cultivable land with immediate effect, restore cultivable land and hand it over, engage the landless poor in such restoration work and in building of roads and a bridge on the Krishna river. The government must provide necessary infrastructure, take immediate short term and long term measures so as to restore the economy, peace and normalcy in that region.  

K Sudha  
(HRF State general secretary)   

UG Srinivasulu
(HRF State president)

G Rohith
(HRF State Executive Committee member)  



Related Posts

Scroll to Top