Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government unveiled a Land Pooling Policy on Monday, to secure about 30,000 acres of land in order to construct a greenfield, riverfront capital city for the state on the southern side of the Krishna river, close to Vijayawada in the Guntur district.
"Pooling" of land for the capital would begin tomorrow as a "majority" of 22,405 farmers in 29 villages which comprise the proposed Andhra Pradesh state capital region are ready to part with their lands, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said, announcing the new policy here this afternoon.
The state government would immediately release a sum of Rs 200 crore to provide debt relief of upto Rs 1.5 lakh to each farmer as a one-time settlement.
"Farmers who give their lands for the capital will get immense benefits as I promised to render justice to all. This will be the best land pooling package on offer in the country and we will build a world-class capital city for which the Singapore government will prepare the masterplan," the Chief Minister said at a press conference.
Under the package, farmers owning dry land would be given 1,000 square yards of residential plot and 200 square yards of commercial plot as compensation for every acre given to the Andhra Pradesh government.
Owners of wet land would be given 1,000 square yards of residential land and 300 square yards of commercial plots in the proposed zone closer to their existing lands.
Besides, owners of dry land would also be paid Rs 30,000 per annum as compensation for ten years, with a 10 per cent hike every year, while those owning wet lands would get Rs 50,000 as well as a 10 per cent hike per annum.
"We will commence land pooling process from tomorrow and
first issue an authorisation letter to land owners. In the next nine months, they will get Land Pooling Ownership Certificate and the land will be developed with necessary infrastructure in the next three years," Chandrababu said.
"We will write to the Government of India seeking exemption of capital gains tax and income tax to land owners who part with their land for the Andhra Pradesh state capital," the Chief Minister said.
However, the state government would "act as per law" if owners did not come forward to part with their lands under the pooling system, the chief minister said, implying that the Land Acquisition Act would be used on them.
"Under the Land Acquisition Act, farmers will only stand to lose," Naidu said.
Noting that Andhra Pradesh had suffered damage on all counts, due to the bifurcation, the chief minister said that everybody's co-operation is required to construct the capital city.
"Having to build the capital is sad, but it is also an opportunity. We are lucky to get that opportunity. I have the blessings of God and I am confident of pooling the required financial resources," Chandrababu said.
"We will create a Capital Region Social Security Fund for the purpose. There are about 12,000 families of agriculture labourers and tenant farmers who will be paid Rs 30,000 per annum each," he said.
"The government will also provide free education and health care for all these families and wage employment will be provided for 365 days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The government will also open old-age homes and NTR canteens to provide shelter and food to old-aged persons," he said.
He said that a skill development centre would be opened for unemployed youth where they would be imparted training in various vocations.
The government would arrange interest-free loans of upto Rs 25 lakh each for youth to take up self-employment, he said.