Nearly 25,000 farmers who gave up more than 35,000 acres of land to the Andhra Pradesh government for construction of new capital city Amaravati might not be able to see the area’s transformation in the near future courtesy the slow progress of development.
However, at least some of them will soon get an idea of what their capital city will look like.
The Andhra Pradesh government has selected as many as 123 farmers from Amaravati capital region and is sending them to Singapore on a four-day tour.
According to sources from the chief minister’s office, the trip is aimed at making farmers learn the best practices in business and entrepreneurship. The farmers will leave in three batches — the first batch will depart on October 30 under the auspices of state urban development minister P Narayana and Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) managing director Cherukuri Sridhar. The last batch is expected to leave in the last week of November.
However, it is not a ‘free’ trip for the farmers. While the entire expenditure for accommodation, food and tour within Singapore city — which comes to around Rs 30,000 per head — will be borne by the APCRDA, the selected farmers have to bear the to-and-fro flight expenses, besides visa and insurance charges that amount to around Rs 25,000.
“If it is a free trip, all 25,000-odd farmers will come forward and it will be too big a burden on the government to take them to Singapore,” CRDA media advisor A Chandrasekhar Reddy said. Srinivas Rao Damineni, a 52-year-old farmer, said spending Rs 25,000 was not a big deal compared to the experience they would gain.
Critics, however, said the government was trying to divert attention from inordinate delay in Amaravati’s construction.