Lokesh urges CRDA/MRDA to pay annuity to farmers

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Calls for timely payments without delay
Free healthcare should be provided on health cards
Amaravati farmers sacrificed ancestral lands

AMARAVATI: TDP National General Secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh on Tuesday urged the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) to make payment of yearly annuity that was due to the Amaravati farmers under the land pooling scheme (LPS) without any delay this year.

Mr. Lokesh recalled how the farmers faced problems in receiving their annuity payments last year and stressed the need for avoiding such financial problems to them considering the severe threat from the Coronavirus pandemic. It was not correct to put problems to the farmers who sacrificed their ancestral lands for the cause of building an impressive capital city for the residual State of Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation.

In a letter written to the Commissioner of the CRDA (redesignated as MRDA), Mr. Lokesh said free healthcare facilities including Covid-related treatments should be provided to the Amaravati farmers and their families. Health cards were given to those living in the Amaravati area as on December 8, 2014. Over 90 percent of these Capital City farmers were marginal farmers and they deserved a fair treatment for making such supreme sacrifice of lands on which their livelihoods depended.

Mr. Nara Lokesh expressed concern about the future of farmers and said: “They have been legally sanctioned annuities proportionate to their donated landholdings, at the rate of ₹30,000-1,00,000 based on their owning irrigated, dry, or horticultural lands. The complexity of this land acquisition process is only matched by the large-heartedness of each of these farmers, spanning across every social background. They willingly gave their ancestral lands for our state to have a world-class capital city. We must never forget the sacrifice of these families.”

Mr. Lokesh told the CRDA/MRDA Commissioner that these farmers should be paid their annuities as per the rules every year by the month of May. There had been an undue delay of more than a month last year at a time when they were reeling under the impact of the first wave of the pandemic. It was shocking that this delay was being repeated this year as we were suffering under the second wave of infections.

The TDP MLC said that nearly 90% of the farmers who gave their land away are marginal farmers with less than a hectare of land. They are solely dependent on this annuity and the future prospects of a capital city coming up here. They must not have to take legal recourse to gain what is rightfully theirs.