Farmers Allege Forcible Takeover of Land for Pooling for Amravati Capital Project

Reported by

Surabhi Bhandari

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 20, 2016

September 20, 2016

Updated on

September 20, 2016

Location of Conflict

Thullur

Mandadam, Krishnayapalem and Uddandarayunipalem

Guntur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Township/Real Estate

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

102595

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

15783

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Andhra Pradesh

Sector

Infrastructure

In 2014, after the establishment of Telangana as a separate state, the government of Andhra Pradesh proposed to build a new capital city, Amravati. The project is spread across 25 villages in three mandals (Thulluru, Manglageiri and Tadepalli) of Guntur district and was initially planned to be completed by July 2018. A land area of about 54,000 acres was acquired for the capital city, comprising primarily agricultural land. The World Bank committed to invest USD 300 million (approximately 2,244 crore as of July 20, 2020) for the project. Instead of land acquisition, the Andhra Pradesh government gave three options to the people to take their land. First, to give up their land under the Land Pooling rules notified under the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014, where instead of compensation, they will get reduced land ownership (of the developed land) in exchange once the city is developed. This would include a range of other benefits and support measures, such as annual payments for the land given to the government. The second option was to give land under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, in exchange for a compensation. The final option was through "negotiated settlements", where the people could negotiate if they wanted compensation for land or preferred land in exchange of land.
At least 21,374 households chose to give up their land under the Land Pooling Scheme. Soon, Amravati was touted as a successful model of land pooling for the rest of the country and an alternative and comparatively peaceful method for acquiring land for infrastructure projects. The people were promised that the Capital city would be built within the next 10 years. The government also promised to return, on an average, 30 per cent of the "developed" land to the original land owners, along with an annual compensation, apart from exempting the owners from capital gains tax and stamp duty on the first sale. However, in 2015, people from Undavalli, Penumaka and Rayapudi villages protested, alleging that they were forced to give up the land under the Land Pooling Scheme, while the government stated that the land was given voluntarily. Manam Bose Reddy, a farmer from Undavalli, told the media, "They sent the police after us; they surrounded the borders of the whole village. The police picketing was arranged in a way that we could not move around. All of this scared the farmers; they felt threatened and gave away their lands." Farmers also demanded equal compensation after alleged claims of discrimination in compensation. Patta owners (land title holders) were promised a developed plot of 1,050 square yards per acre of pooled land, but the assigned land owners** (those who are allotted temporary land titles under the Andhra Pradesh Assigned Land Act, 1977) were only promised 600 square yards of the developed plot. **The government also made other promises to the farmers, including rent of up to ₹50,000 per acre for 10 years, jobs for family members of those who gave their land for the project, reimbursement of childrens education fees, residential and commercial plots, all major infrastructure facilities like roads, power lines and drainage and free health cards. However, the government failed to deliver on the promises. In 2019, after the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government came to power, news reports stated that the earlier government had engaged in illegal dealings related to the Amravati project. The finance minister of the state, B.R. Reddy, alleged that the land pooling scheme (LPS), under which land was acquired, and land allocation to various organisations were being scrutinised. There is suspicion that people with insider knowledge about the location of the capital city purchased land in the region and profited by selling it to the government under the LPS. In July 2019, the World Bank dropped out of the project. The World Bank had apparently considered widespread complaints lodged by farmers over the forcible takeover of their fertile lands by the previous government in the name of land pooling for the capital city's development. On December 17, 2019, Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy had mooted the idea of having three capitals for Andhra Pradesh, with the executive capital in Visakhapatnam, the legislative capital in Amaravati and the judicial capital in Kurnool, spread over the three predominant regions of the state. The idea did not go down well with the masses. Since its proposal, farmers had been staging demonstrations against the possible relocation of the state capital from Amravati. The farmers sought reassurance from the government that the capital would continue in Amravati and their promises would be fulfilled.
At least 64 farmers have lost their lives in the Amravati movement. Many of them died of heart attacks after protesting for days under the sun, refusing to erect tents. In the last week of August 2020, protests over the capital trifurcation completed 250 days. The protests, which started in December 2019, had intensified in July 2020, when Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan assented to the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, 2020, and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020. Both the bills are influential in the threecapital project as they order a shift of key functions out of Amravati. Meanwhile, responding to a petition filed by farmers, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had ordered a stay on the project until August 27, 2020.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Discrimination in compensation- demand for equal compensation

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

54000

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws, Constitutional Law, Central/State Government Policy

Legislations/Policies Involved

Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Act, 2014
Section 53 (e) [A share of total area of reconstituted land to be re-allotted to landowner as specified by authority]; Section 56(1) [Land owners to be consulted by authority while making draft land pooling scheme]; Section 58 (3) [Authority to hand over reconstituted plots to land owners after formation of roads]; Section 99 [Right over original plot may be transferred to reconstituted plot in whole or in part if it is possible to do so, and if it is not, the right shall be extinguished provided that agricultural lease shall not be transferred without consent of all parties to the lease]; Section 124[Different means through which the Authority may acquire moveable or immovable property]; Section 125 [ The Authority may acquire land by mutual agreement through negotiated settlement]; Section 146 [Bar on legal proceedings for any act done under or in pursuance of the Act]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 41(9) [Alienation of land to be deemed null and void due to disregard of regulations]; Section 38 [Power of collector to take possession of acquired land after full payment of compensation within 3 months, and completion of resettlement and rehabilitation]
Andhra Pradesh Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Rules, 2014
Rule 34 [Return of Land to the Original Land Owner if land remains unused for 5 years after possession being taken]
Andhra Pradesh Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfers) Act, 1977
Section 3 [Lands assigned to assignees cannot be further transferred]
Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Act, 2020
Section 2 [Repeal of the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014]
Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020
Section 5 & 6 [Powers and functions of the Zonal planning and development Board to review, implement, and supervise the development & project plans of the particular zone]
Rule 5 (2) [The authority guarantees the return of reconstituted land and the payment of other benefits as stipulated to the land owners]
Article14 [Right to equality before law]
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Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

No items found.

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Andhra Pradesh

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Andhra Pradesh; Municipal Administration & Urban Development Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA)

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress Party, CPM, Sivaramakrishnan Committee, Rythulu Rythu Kooleela Samakhya (Capital Region Assigned Farmers and Farm Workers Association)

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

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