(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 08, 2009
M Venugopala Rao
LED by the CPI(M) and CPI, poor farmers, especially those belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, occupied thousands of acres of land in Loyapalli of Manchala mandal and surrounding villages in Ranga Reddy district by setting up red flags on January 30, 2009. This was a protest against their being cheated by Maytas Company through a middle man Akula Rajayya. He lured the farmers to sell away their lands for a pittance and even forged their signatures for the purpose of registration. With the state secretaries of the CPI(M) and CPI, B V Raghavulu and K Narayana in the forefront, the farmers demanded the government to give back possession of the lands to them or to pay them adequate compensation, if it wants to use those lands for any public purpose. Raising slogans against Maytas, Rajayya and the government, they went in a procession covering a distance of four kilometers from Manchala and set up red flags at Dharmaya tank and other areas. State secretariat member of the CPI(M), Y Venkateswara Rao, Ranga Reddy district secretary, D G Narasimha Rao, state committee member, P Janga Reddy, general secretary of A P Agricultural Workers’ Union, B Venkat, MLA M Narsimha, president and general secretary of CPI affiliated A P Agricultural Workers’ Union S Venkateswarlu and J Wilson, secretary of district committee of the CPI, Balamallesh and others participated in the land occupation.
Addressing a meeting organised in this connection, Raghavulu explained that Rajayya had violated law, cheated, threatened and allured the farmers to get their lands registered and all that was done with the knowledge of the government. Though they were claiming that they had paid money to the farmers to get their lands registered, what was paid to the farmers was a pittance ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs10,000 only, while the market rate of those lands, even as per government’s estimates, was Rs 3 lakh per acre, he said. Maytas possessing about 6800 acres of land in its name itself was illegal, Raghavulu said and asked the government as to why it was keeping quite without taking possession of those lands. Though the lands can be given back to the farmers by issuing a government’s order, the latter was not doing so because all those fraudulent transactions were carried out with its knowledge, Raghavulu criticised. Narayana pointed out that the CPI had given a complaint to the state human rights commission against Rajayya in the year 2007 itself for cheating the farmers, but the government had not taken any action against him. By cheating the farmers they committed a largescale fraud - Rajayya to the tune of Rs 100 crore and Maytas to the tune of Rs 5000 crore, he said. The government was not just keeping quite when the farmers were being cheated in this manner but even encouraged middlemen and it itself dispossessed farmers from their lands in the name of SEZs, industries and coastal corridor, etc., Narayana criticised.