Unknown miscreants set fire to crops and horticulture plantations, besides damaging the drip irrigation equipment of farmers in at least five villages in the proposed capital city region in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday night. The farmers alleged that they were being targeted for refusing to part with their lands for the capital city.
According to the initial reports, these incidents took place in Penumaka, Undavalli, Venkatapalem, Uddhandarayunipalem and Mandadam villages in Guntur district.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu spoke to the collector on Monday morning and instructed the officials to take strict actions against those responsible for the incidents, according to the chief minister's office.
The farmers alleged that gangs of outsiders had been moving around the villages for the past few weeks to create fear among those who were unwilling to give away their lands under the land pooling initiative announced by the state government. "Yesterday's events are only a continuation of these threats," a farmer of Undavalli village told a local television channel.
It may be recalled that the state government had identified over 30,000 acre across two dozen villages in Tulluru and Mangalagiri mandals for the capital city under Phase-I, while announcing a package of compensation to farmers under the land pooling mechanism. The government had recently brought an enactment for the creation of a capital region development authority (CRDA) and the procedures of land pooling.