Amaravati –People’s Capital
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chandrababu Naidu, the CM of Andhra Pradesh inaugurated the capital city on 22nd of October, spending Rs 300 crore. At whose cost and what cost, this endeavor is pushed and still being imposed, is a big question. The capital is a game of the capitalists, including real estate developers who are in nexus with the politicians. It being at the cost of the best of agriculture and horticulture which would bring in severe destruction of livelihood and contribute to food insecurity.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh decided to establish a green field capital city between Vijayawada and Guntur cities, in a 122 sq kilometre area by acquiring prime agricultural land on the bank of river Krishna. The Government has also planned to develop the capital region in a 7068 sq. kilometre area. The capital city is promised and claimed to be developed as a liveable, environmentally sustainable and people's capital.
The core capital region alone will displace around 90,000 marginal farmers, lease holders, agricultural workers, fisher people and other unorganised labour classes. The latter compose 80% of the population in the area. While the land lords will be getting residential plots, a commercial plot and yearly compensation for every acre surrendered, the landless will be left with a paltry Rs 2500/- per month as 'Pension'. A large number of landless families have not been included in the enumeration of affected families. Tenements in large numbers have lost their means of livelihood. Their children are dropping out of colleges because their parents can no more afford to pay for their education.
If Amaravati is to be a People's Capital as the Government claims it to be, then everyone, especially the unorganised working classes should have a right to the City as well as development both. They have a right to land, housing and other resources just like the landlords so that they are able to live with dignity and earn their livelihood in the new capital.
The paltry Rs 2500/- as Pension promised for the landless working classes will make them 'beggars'. The landless working class families who are threatened to be deprived of their livelihood should be paid Rs 15000/- per month for the next ten years, with an annual increment of 10 percent. Every family unit of the landless affected by the new capital must be included for such compensation with the government taking adequate care so that no one is excluded from such benefit.
Vol. 48, No. 24, Dec 20 - 26, 2015