Hyderabad: Amaravati, envisaged as the dream capital of Andhra Pradesh by former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, has become a barren stretch today. Satellite images reveal large swaths of fertile land turning arid in just four years.

The green-to-brown transformation of Amaravati comes to fore at a time when opinions are divided over Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s proposed three-capital formula to decentralise power. This has also left the farmers of Amaravati in a dilemma.

P Chengal Reddy, chief advisor, Consortium of Indian Farmers Association, rued farming is no longer profitable in India. He told NewsMeter, “Amaravati is one of the very few places were farmers made profits. The land in Amaravati used to be fertile for 365 days. Each farmer earned 2-3 lakh per annum. With minimum expense, they used to do agriculture.”

Reddy was quick to add that all is not lost for Amaravati and that it can still reclaim its lost glory. “Krishna moved through Amaravati for thousands of years. Because of this reason, the land is exceptionally fertile. Farmers can still convert the barren land into agriculture fields,” he said.

 

 

However, many farmers have already lost their agricultural land to real estate. Returning to farming has become a distant dream for them.

“This is a land that used to yield gold. But during the last few years, shops, supermarkets and hotels mushroomed up. Physical boundaries between plots have been erased. Even CRDA might not be able to help at this stage. With new roads and trenches dug along, it has become difficult for farmers to identify and reclaim their land.” A local farmer, Gurava Reddy said. 

Almost 70 percent of shops and living quarters in Amaravati are vacant today. Experts said it would take a minimum of two years for farmers to make their land cultivatable again.

Meanwhile, the registration of returnable land in the area has already been done. The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority allotted returnable residential and commercial land to farmers. After the capital city’s master plan was made, based on land availability, there are also farmers who received land in other villages.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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