Farmers sit on hunger strike against Andhra’s 3-capital plan | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Farmers sit on hunger strike against Andhra’s 3-capital plan

By, Hyderabad
Feb 25, 2022 12:33 AM IST

A large number of women, youth and students took part in the mass hunger strike, which started at 9 am and will continue till 9 am on Friday.

Marking 800 days of protest against the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s decision to form three capital cities for the state, hundreds of farmers Thursday sat on a 24 hour-long hunger strike at Velagapudi village in Amaravati, the capital region of Andhra Pradesh.

The protesters also took a pledge stating that they would not give up their fight “despite the foisting of illegal cases by the state government” and harassment of the farmers. (ANI File)
The protesters also took a pledge stating that they would not give up their fight “despite the foisting of illegal cases by the state government” and harassment of the farmers. (ANI File)

A large number of women, youth and students took part in the mass hunger strike, which started at 9 am and will continue till 9 am on Friday.

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“We crossed a major milestone in our agitation on Thursday and it will continue till the state government drops its three capitals’ plan and continue Amaravati as the only capital of Andhra Pradesh,” Amaravati joint action committee convener A Siva Reddy said.The protesters also took a pledge stating that they would not give up their fight “despite the foisting of illegal cases by the state government” and harassment of the farmers.

“Cutting across caste, community and political affiliation, we resolve to fight unitedly for our legitimate rights in Amaravati. We will not allow the government to sell the lands of Amaravati under any circumstances,” Reddy said.

More than 24,000 farmers belonging to 29 villages on the banks of Krishna river had given away nearly 33,000 acres of fertile land to the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government led by N Chandrababu Naidu for the construction of a world-class capital city at Amaravati in 2015.

Even as the construction works of various government buildings began in the subsequent three years after the approval of the master plan, the TDP lost power to the YSR Congress party led by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. The new government got all the ongoing works in Amaravati stalled and subsequently abandoned the capital project. On December 18, 2019, Jagan announced the formation of three capital cities for AP – executive capital at Visakhapatnam, judicial capital at Kurnool and legislative capital at Amaravati. This triggered objection from the farmers of Amaravati, who began protests on the same day at Uddandarayunipalem village, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation for Amaravati capital city on October 22, 2015.

The protests have been going on since then.

Simultaneously, the farmers of Amaravati who had formed into a joint action committee have been waging a legal battle in the state high court since June 2020, challenging the three capitals’ decision. On November 22, the Jagan government withdrew the legislation on three capitals in the state assembly and declared that a revised fool-proof bill on the same would be reintroduced at a later stage.

Recently, the state municipal administration and urban development minister Botsa Satyanarayana told reporters that the revised bill on three capitals would be introduced in the coming budget session of the assembly, which is expected to commence on March 7.

“We will continue the legal battle as the government is keen on three capitals. At the same time, we will also intensify the agitation and spread it across the state,” the JAC convener said.

The JAC is forming its branches in all parliamentary constituencies, starting with East and West Godavari district and conducting round-table meetings with experts, opposition parties and other stakeholders to mobilise their support for the Amaravati cause, Reddy said.

TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu was all praise for the protesters for their unrelenting struggle to retain Amaravati as the state capital. “The Jagan government has destroyed not only the Amaravati capital project, but also the development of the entire state,” he said.

He said Amaravati remained ‘resilient’ despite the destructive plans of the chief minister. “It emerged stronger and withstood all the narrow-minded and heinous plans of Jagan and his party leaders,” Naidu added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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