Amaravati: In a big blow to rich politicians, particularly of the Telugu Desam, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet has taken a crucial decision on assignment lands in the new capital city of Amaravati.
The AP cabinet decided to allot residential plots and commercial plots to the original owners of assignment lands pooled by then AP Capital Region Develop-ment Authority (CRDA).
After and before Amaravati was declared to be AP’s capital city by the previous TD government, some rich people and TD leaders, including ministers and MLAs, had purchased assignment lands (lands assigned by the government to the poor) from the poor people who owned them, at cheap rates.
Some of these lands were purchased in the names of benamis or proxies. According to CRDA records, out of 33,000 acres of land pooled by it for the purpose of creating Amaravati, 2028 acres are assigned lands. Thus a majority of the assigned lands pooled by CRDA have changed hands.
Those who purchased the assigned lands and gave them to CRDA were to get developed residential and commercial plots in return. In addition to this, another 348 acres of assigned lands in the purview of Amaravati also changed the names. After Amaravati is developed as the state capital, the land value will increase vastly. Those who bought the lands from the mostly poor original owners threatened that if they did not sell the lands, the government would take the land under land pooling.
The TD government had announced that for every acre of land given for land pooling, 1000 sq yards of residential plots and 450 sq yards of commercial plots will be returned to the land owners.
The Mangalagiri sub-registrar at that time was suspended for illegal registration of these assigned lands. There were also allegations that the sub-registrar had registered the assigned lands illegally in the name of others under pressure from the TD leaders.Across the state, there are 28 lakh acres of assigned lands and seven lakh acres of that is encroached upon by others, while there are no records for three lakh acres of assigned lands, a senior official said. It is well-known that the encroachers and illegal purchasers of these lands are the rich and the politically powerful. In fact, the TD government had taken a decision to allow the sale of assigned lands and to legalise it by amending the Act.
This would benefit the encroachers and illegal purchasers of assigned lands, particularly in CRDA limits, to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees. But the amendment to the Act was not brought before the government was replaced. It was decided that the developed residential and commercial plots that would have been given to owners in return for pooling their land, should now be given to the original owners as they appear in government records and not to the encroachers or illegal purchasers....