Visakhapatnam: Both the ruling YSRC and opposition leaders traded charges over the grabbing of government lands in Visakhapatnam district as revenue officials with the help of a huge posse of police freed 49.1 acres of the government land in Gajuwaka area which is said to be under the encroachment of MLA Palla Srinivasa Rao’s family members.
The officials said a special drive was launched last year and so far 430 acres worth Rs 4,291 crore was seized by the government. In the fresh move on Sunday morning, the revenue officials demolished a compound wall adjoining Palla Srinivasa Rao’s land and removed some sheds. A total extent of 49.1 acres worth Rs 791 crore was freed from encroachment, the officials said.
“Land grabbing began during the tenure of Chandrababu Naidu government,’’ said the minister for tourism, Muttamsetti (Avanti) Srinivasa Rao. Addressing a press conference after the land seizure, the minister said the drive to take back government was no vengeance against the opposition leaders. He said the seized lands would be used for housing for poorer sections. He asserted that none would be spared if they indulged in land grabbing. “If ruling party leaders indulged in grabbing, the victims can go straight to the Commissioner of Police and launch a formal complaint,’’ he urged the public.
Palla Srinivasa Rao said his private land was not touched and the revenue officials just demolished a compound wall which divided his land and a pond. “Not an inch of my land was touched, and I did not encroach any government land located next to my land,” he told DC on Sunday evening.
He said as per his information, the open land belonged to the Railways and some public and corporate sectors. The five-acre land which the revenue claimed to have seized was under legal dispute pending in High Court between one Marvari family and railways. The revenue officials should have conducted a survey, issued notice, and then seized the land if it belonged to the government. “It is illegal to seize land on Sundays without following proper procedure,” he said. His family members said after Srinivasa Rao turned down the offer to join YSRC, the official machinery was unleashed against him.
Reacting to the incident, TD state president K Atchannaidu said the attack on Srinivasa Rao was an attack on the weaker sections in the state.He said the Chief Minister, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, began a new chapter by attacking the opposition leaders-owned lands on holidays. He alleged that as all the records were proper and unable to do any damage, the government demolished a two-foot boundary wall adjoining the Yadava Jaggarajupeta pond and Srinivasa Rao lands. “If there are encroachments, the officials should conduct a joint survey and take action accordingly by informing the public,’’ he said. He added that during the last two years, the YSRC government did not build a structure but demolished many, particularly belonging to well-known people like MLA Velagapudi Ramakrishnababu and GITAM University.