With about 20,000 acres already acquired, Andhra Pradesh government is confident of pooling the additional land required for it to carry out its grand plan of developing a world-class capital city for the state. “I think we have completed the lion’s share of pooling. As on February 13, it is about 20,000 (acres)-odd. I think we are expecting another two to three thousand acres before the deadline (February 15),” Advisor (Communications), Parakala Prabhakar, told PTI here.
Thereafter, the government will take a call on whether or not it needs a little more time to meet its target of “pooling” 30,000 acres of land in the Vijayawada-Guntur region, where the proposed capital is to be developed. He said that the resistance from farmers and land owners to the pooling has been “minimal” with most of them agreeing with the rationale and the package announced by the state government.
“Resistance is very minimal, I would say. In about three or four villages, a section of the farmers were trying to resist with the argument that the lands were giving three crops and that they would also lose the connect with the land. “(But) most of those who resisted earlier have come around after they came to know the rationale behind land pooling and saw the kind of package that the government has announced. “A few are holding out, probably mainly for some political reasons. But I don’t think it is going to be a real impediment to our efforts to build the capital. The package that the AP government has given is the best so far in India and, so, it is a win-win situation,” he said.
As per the package, the farmers or land owners do not sever their ties with the land after surrendering it and they would also get a substantial piece of land for residential or commercial purposes. “They are going to be part of the value addition that goes on accruing to this over the next decades,” he said. They will be paid an annuity for 10 years while the landless like agricultural labourers will get social security pension and eligible youth will be encouraged to start their own enterprises. Also, skill development will be imparted to those rendered unable to practice agriculture, he said.
The capital would have three rings — seed capital area and capital area around it and then the capital region. Singapore government agencies are developing the master plan for the capital free of cost as a goodwill gesture, Prabhakar added.