East Godavari, the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh, known
for its paddy fields, the state government plans to build
the Kakinanda SEZ. Already 4,500 acres of the required
8,000 have been acquired. Most of it is farmland.
Reddy, joint collector, East Godavari, says, "Out
of the 8,000 acres of land only 350 is government land,
the remaining is totally agricultural, but most of it
is single crop, rain fed. Ninety per cent of the land
we are acquiring is paddy land."
farmers tell a different story. Those who have received
notices claim the fields produce more than two crops a
year. But officials refuse to acknowledge this because
statements from the central government forbid them from
acquiring double-crop land.
Farmer, Perimal Kothabai said, "I grow three crops
of paddy a year on my land, Rs3 lakh an acre is insufficient
compensation. I won''t sell my land for just that much."
there is another problem here, farmers who grow crops
other than paddy like mango, eucalyptus, cashew and groundnut
claim that the government has classified their land as
"barren" and at the rate of Rs3 lakh an acre,
the land is being highly undervalued.
Rao, a eucalyptus farmer, says that officials made him
fingerprint a document he did not understand. It declared
his land barren!
farmer, Mallipedi Appa Rao Perimal Kothabai, said, "The
government authorities asked me to sign on a paper that
said there is nothing growing on this land, it''s dry and
barren. The document was in English so I didn''t understand
it. My land is worth more than Rs3 lakh an acre."
officials accept that might have happened, but they say
the farmer won''t lose out.
collector Reddy, however, said, "Even if the land
is classified as barren, we are offering the same compensation
to every one, so it will not affect the farmer."
say the package of Rs3 lakh per acre and Rs40,000 for
home is paltry compensation for the most fertile land
in the state. And jobs offered at the SEZ have been made
only to those who have passed standard 10. That''s just
100 out of 2,500 farmers here. This rice bowl then might
not feed its farmers much longer.