Despite resistance from a section of farmers against land pooling, Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Commissioner says exercise will be a smooth affair with a large number of farmers voluntarily coming forward to give their consent. The authority could pool close to 24,500 acres by February 26 as against target of 33,811 acres without any hassle.
A day before the February 28 deadline (for land pooling) CRDA Commissioner N. Srikant shares with Appaji Reddem & G.V.R. Subba Rao how the mega-effort took shape. Following are excerpts of the interview:
What is the status on land pooling? How the farmers’ resistance was handled?
I don’t see any resistance. The farmers are convinced that the government is offering a better package for the lands. There are many villages where 100 per cent land pooling was completed. Neerukonda, Nelapadu, Dondapadu and Mandapam are a few villages to name. I’m confident that the entire process will be completed as per schedule.
Then, how do you look at the issue of farmers of irrigated land (jareebu) who are still unwilling to share land?
It appears that they want more compensation than dry land farmers.
Probably, socio-economic factors have something to do with that. Now, they are also coming forward.
With government announcing additional package, it will be much easier task. It’s purely an economic issue.
Now that the land pooling is almost complete, what is your next priority?
The top priority is handing over developed land to farmers in a year. And then construction of capital city as per plans by firms from Singapore and other entities which will be finalised in bidding.
When the actual construction is expected to begin?
The Singapore firm is likely to submit the master plan in mid-June. Based on that, subsequent global tenders will be invited for design of each component. The government will take a call on that. Positively speaking, every thing should be in a place in a year.
How is the construction of Capital planned? Who will be funding it?
Firstly, infrastructure like roads and water supply projects will be taken up. A three-tier infrastructural plan is on the anvil. Tier-I for Capital city, tier-II for neighbourhoods and habitations within in the region and tier-III for spaces related to individuals. The plan remains same for all three tiers.
Tier I will need huge investment which may come from Overseas Development Agencies (ODA).
The farmers are more worried about their livelihood. What’s the plan?
The government is working out on it. Skill development programmes will be taken up by AP Livelihoods Mission.