Vast swathes of lush fields where vegetables are grown throughout the year dot the picturesque river front. Farmers grow yam, banana, gherkin, cauliflower and onion, besides a variety of leafy vegetables on the best farm land in the Krishna catchment area. The black alluvial soil, which is rich in minerals, produces three crops a year, yielding rich harvests for farmers.
With the capital talk now centred on the four mandals in Guntur district, Tadepalli, Mangalagiri, Thullur and Amaravathi, a sense of despair has gripped farmers of this village in Tadepalli mandal. The repeated assertions of the government that a ‘river-front capital’ is being planned has sent the farmers into a tizzy, besides throwing open questions about their livelihood.
“Our family is in into agriculture for generations. Besides Gherkin, which I cultivate using the drip irrigation method, we cultivate banana, yam and onion. After all my expenditure, I am still left with Rs.1 lakh in hand every year. Now, they are talking about land-pooling and land development. We are not sure about them, and if the government takes our land using force, we will fight using all our strength,” says Viswanatha Reddy of Penumaka village.
A collective sense of despair is visible as one traverses the villages. Farmers have rallied together to protect their property in the wake of a possible land acquisition and have been meeting various political parties.
The CPM-led Rythu Sangham has taken the cudgels on behalf of farmers. “There is a talk of 60:40 development, and it means that farmers who give away one acre will get nearly 1,100 square yards. We do not know where the government provides alternative lands,” says Rythu Sangham president J. Siva Sankar.
The government’s assertion that a ‘river-front capital’ is being planned has sent farmers into a tizzy, besides throwing open questions about their livelihood