With the deadline for land pooling for the new Andhra capital ending on Saturday, chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu reached out to the farmers resisting the take-over by sweetening the compensation package.
Now, the extended benefits include an additional 150 sq yard of commercial developed space making it 450 sq yard for ever acre of riverside land, waiver of loans taken for fruit, horticulture crops and the compensation for the loss of fruit bearing trees like lemon, guava is doubled to Rs 1 lakh.
Naidu lauded their “sacrifice” and announced that annuity in lieu of farm income would start flowing from March 1.
The government planned to gather about 34,000 acres of crop lands from the farmers in the Guntur district for a brand new capital city to be built in partnership with Singapore. Started on January 1, the Naidu government planned to hit that target by February end.
But farmers with very fertile lands along the Krishna riverside and those near to the Vijayawada city resisted the offer stating it as too low. Some are unwilling to part with their lands at any cost.
While some unwilling farmers mulled legal options to resist the bid some took their agitation to Jantar Mantar in Delhi to protest alongside Anna Hazare.
According to a senior official, all that the land pooling officials could collect was 22,600 acres, till Monday.
With this stagnation threatening to derail his timeline for his flagship project, Naidu had on Thursday called the farmer representatives to Hyderabad and held discussions with them.
Though some more farmers are coming forward to submit their lands after the announcement on Thursday night, the famers of Undavalli, Penumaka and Nidamarru are still bold on their stand.
“Out of the 1200 acres in our village, only about 100 acres were pooled till now. With the new offer another 150 acres might add and that’s it. Most of our village including me would not part with our lands. I see no life for me without farming,” says Sumanth Reddy of Penumaka.