In what is seen as a prelude to taking over the excess land of the powerful and mighty, who have been dodging the law with impunity for years, Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy on Tuesday announced the surrender of 618 acres of surplus land under his possession to the government.
Speaking to newsmen in the Assembly premises, Reddy said he has already surrendered the surplus land, which was held by his family in excess of the holdings permitted under the AP Land Reforms (Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings) Act, 1973.
He said he had written to the collector of his home district, Kadapa, sometime ago expressing his willingness to surrender the excess land, worth crores of rupees. Subsequently, the district revenue authorities have taken possession of the surrendered land, he added.
Reddy, his wife and his two children possessed a total of 758 acres at Idupayalapalli estate in Vempally in their own names, apart from a private company.
However, when he came to know that under the Land Reforms Act, he and his family were entitled to hold only 140 acres, he decided to surrender the excess land, covering an extent of 618 acres. "The land is highly fertile and cost at least Rs 20 lakh per acre. The estate has orchards, teak plantations and other crops," he added.
The AP Land Reforms (Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings) Act, 1973, came into force from January 1, 1975. The ceiling limit prescribed under the Act ranges from 10 acres to 54 acres per family, depending upon the class and category of land.
Taking potshots at media baron Ramoji Rao — owner of Eenadu and ETV — for allegedly possessing excess land in violation of the Land Reforms Act 1973, Reddy said that, emulating his example, others who possessed surplus land should follow suit and surrender the same to the government.
The government claims that Ramoji Rao and his family possess huge chunks of excess lands at Ramoji Film City as well as other locations in and around the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, in violation of the Land Reforms Act.
Official circles said with the chief minister setting the example, the administration will have no problem on firmly dealing with the violators, the big and small, who could escape by using their political clout earlier.