A four-member team of officials from the World Bank arrived on a four-day visit to Andhra Pradesh earlier this week to interact with the farmers in the wake of complaints against the state government’s proposal to build the new capital city in Amaravati.
The team is visiting the villages which raised objections and has been speaking to farmers to ascertain the facts before the approval and release of loans to AP government in October 2017.
World Bank panel received a ‘request for inspection’ on May 25 by one section of farmers, alleging harm from Land Pooling Scheme to their livelihood, environment and food security. The panel received another communication on May 27 from another section of farmers in support of governmental development objectives of the proposed project.
The panel chose to visit both groups of farmers, and on its first day visited Nidamarru, Nelapadu, Vundavalli and Penumaka villages. One farmer who is not willing to give up multi-crop agricultural land told the team, "We only know agriculture and cannot do anything else. In a year, we grow three crops on these fields. There are over 300 people who work on my field. Where will these people go? So I have refused to give my 30 acre land".
“The government forcibly took our lands and paid us Rs 18 lakhs per acre while they sold it for Rs 50 lakhs. They are destroying our productive fields and we do not want to give our lands to the government,” another farmer said.
The farmers also alleged that the government is going ahead with the project, without conducting environment and social impact assessment. They also said that the ecology of Krishna River would be in jeopardy if the capital is allowed in the floodplains.
The World Bank team plans to visit Kondaveeti Vagu and Pedalanka villages on Saturday and interact with the farmers.