The movement launched by Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) farmers to get back their lands has got a shot in the arm with the support of Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan. The Jana Sena chief, at his recent rally across Godavari’s Dowleswaram barrage, said that he will ensure justice to the farmers. Pawan Kalyan’s support has brightened the hopes of the KSEZ farmers and the agitators thanked the Jana Sena chief.
“Chandrababu Naidu made a promise to the farmers for giving back their lands, if the TD assumes power. During the Congress regime, though there were constraints on them, either Rajasekhar Reddy or Kirankumar Reddy did not prevent them from tilling their lands. But, at present, under the TD Government’s rule, there is no democratic governance running in KSEZ area. There is military governance in the area (Police Raj),” KSEZ Vyathireka Porata Samithi convener Chinta Suryanarayana Murthy said.
The KSEZ movement has been a peaceful agitation since the past one decade and all parties, including the present ruling party Telugu Desam while it was in the Opposition, had supported the agitation. But, the farmers feel that after assuming power, Chandrababu Naidu betrayed them.
The movement has become an ideal model for other agitations and still the agitators are continuing this, though they are struggling to live, due to financial constraints. In 2005, during the regime of late chief minister Rajasekhar Reddy, the KSEZ had entered into the fields of Thondangi and U Kothapalli mandals, the Kakinada coast in East Godavari.
The farmers alleged that the then rulers had forcibly acquired the lands from the farmers. In the name of farmers, several organisations also joined hands with the rulers and KSEZ and cheated the farmers. In the process, the government had given notification for nearly 8,500 acres of land, out of which the KSEZ could purchase 4,850 acres of land directly from the farmers and later, the government had issued a notification for land acquisition and passed awards for nearly 3,500 acres, out of which nearly 1,000 farmers only got the compensation, without any scope for them. Remaining farmers did not take any compensation from either the KSEZ or the government.
Many environmentalists, Civil Rights Organisations, all parties, including the CPI, BJP, CPM, TD and others rendered their support to the farmers and opposed the land acquisition process. However, the farmers felt that Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and the local TD leaders betrayed them drastically.