Farmers threaten to launch agitation against coastal Sagaramala project
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
Kakinada: There is stiff opposition to the land acquisition process for the coastal Sagaramala Project that aims at linking two ports — the newly proposed greenfield Port near Perumallapuram and the Kakinada Port.
Under the project, a road is to be laid from the lighthouse at Suryaraopet to the National Highway at Annavaram. The NH project director has filed a request for acquisition of land to develop the road into a four-lane from Kakinada anchorage port to NH16 at Annavaram through Uppada Beach in East Godavari district; a stretch of 40km covering 239.65 acres.
The road covers Kakinada Rural, U. Kothapalli of Kakinada division and Sankhavaram and Thondangi of Peddapuram division. The joint collector of East Godavari has been appointed as the competent authority for land acquisition (CALA). It issued a notification on June 2, seeking objections from the farmers whose lands might be acquired for the project.
Farmers have opposed the proposed road and said the project alignment would ruin the small and marginal farmers. "There are so many alternative ways other than acquiring the fertile lands of U Kothapalli and Thondangi mandals where the farmers are raising three crops a year.
The project was initially proposed to provide road connectivity between Gangavaram port and Kakinada Port through Vontimamidi in Thondangi mandal.
"Since some influential people have purchased the lands in the area, the government hence changed its alignment and the road is linked to Annavaram Highway. If the Sagaramala Road is connected to the highway at Achampeta, there will be no problem and farmers will not lose their lands,’’ said the Talisetty Tirupathi Rao alias Raja of Komaragiri village in U. Kothapalli mandal.
He said the farmers are ready to make any sacrifice to protect their lands as their livelihood is based simply on these lands. Another farmer, Parimi Gangababu, said land acquisition is being done by way of cutting through their lands, with the result that pieces of land will remain on both sides of the road and these lands will not be good anymore for cultivation.
Some of these lands below the road level will be flooded and the lands on the other side of the road will be starved of water. This will ruin agriculture in the region, the said.
He said the lands in Nemam, U. Kothapalli, Uppada, Chinnayapalem, Ramanakkapeta and Ravikampadu are being acquired. These lands are being cultivated under Pithapuram branch canal and the Yeleru Reservoir.
Ex-sarpanch Katari Rajababu said the farmers would launch an agitation on the lines of the Kakinada Special Economic Zone protest.
Meanwhile, joint collector Lakshmisha said land acquisition is being done as per law and 66 objections came from the land owners. They would be given a hearing on September 1 at the tahsildar’s office at U Kothapalli. After this, the final plan would be submitted to the NHAI for approval.