Samwad Yatra Report: Day 35, Guntur, AP.

The morning meeting in Chirala started with a small gathering of 50 people belonging to the Yanadi community who walked in from Chinnagunjam village. They told the story about their 50 acres of land cultivated for the last 17 years. In 2008, local officials started  to threaten the local villagers, trying to force them to leave the land. The villagers jointly appeared in court with the plea of regularization of their land under Darkhast title (enjoyment title) rules. Mr D Manual from Loksatta Udyava Sanstha is leading this struggle for the last 4 years. Even after repeated petitions they have not received any responses from the State.

The Dalit Bahujan Front called a big public meeting in the district headquarters of Guntur. The leader of DBF, Mr Vinay Kumar explained in detail about the success and failures of reforms in Andhra Pradesh. Between 1969 to 2001, about 72629 acres of land was redistributed among 67317 dalit families in Guntur district alone. According to the Revenue Department (2008) about 2500 acres of land was alienated from dalits during last 10 years. Meanwhile DBF researches claimed that 35000 acres has already been under dispute between dalit and non-dalit familes—this is a cause of major conflict. Mr Daya Prasad from DBF, explained how the 5 phase plan of land redistribution program has bee completely interrupted by revenue officials in the State

DBF members also spoke about various case studies that show that even after the allotment of 75000 acres of land to the landless dalits (since 1991), a majority of families have not got physical possession over their land. In Yedlapada mandal 1148 acres of land was allotted to dalit families but soon, these lands have been taken away for Textile Park and SEZ purpose in Guntur district.

A meeting has called by Lok Satta Party in Guntur town hall. Mr Koteshwar Rao, a famous thinker spoke on issues involved in the reversal of the land reforms process after the liberalization of 1990s. He also explained how the current economic system allows the exploitation.

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