Samwad Yatra Report, Day 37: Elluru

In Elluru, a public hearing has organized by the Dalit Mahasabha. The President of the Dalit Mahasabha, Mr M Ramesh said that about 98000 acres of assigned land was identified by the district administration during 2008. However, till the end of March 2011, only 12000 acres of land had been distributed to the landless poor in the district. Apart from this about 4000 acres of land was also identified as a deemed forest for redistribution to the eligible claimants. But even after these administrative processes the revenue land has not been distributed to the landless poor.  Villagers from T Narsapur, Chintalpuri, Chengoreddypuram, Lingopalam, Kodavedi, Amaverapuram, Jeilugumilla, Buttaigudam and Pollavaram were associated with the Dalit Mahasbha for claiming their land rights.  Mr. Ramesh also informed us that recently 18000 acres of assigned land has been forcefully grabbed by fishing mafias. Even after 12 years, the people from the Kolleri Area Wildlife Sanctuary have not been resettled properly. In Telpuram Mandal, the state has recently started the process of land acquisition in the name of Bayaram SEZ for White Fields Paper Mills Limited, causing serious damage for the farmers and landless poor in the district. Mr. V. Prasad Rao explained that even after a series of government regulations the local administration has not shown any interest in providing land for the landless poor

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In the afternoon, a public meeting has organized by Bhoomi Kosam Praja Chainya Sadassu engaged with the tribal, dalit and nomad since two decade. The meeting is addressed by Krishna Das, a famous dalit writer of Andhra Pradesh. The head of Priyadarshini College Mr A Anand Shekhar express his views on thoughts of Dr Ambedkar on the issues of landless and marginal farmers. He spoke of how this Yatra would be instrumental for bringing awareness especially among the young generation on basic questions of dalit and tribals. Mr Bapu Ji, the leader of APVVU conducted brief hearings of some dalit and tribal leaders for giving the understanding of local issues. Kaka Laxman Rao from Bariculapada village said that since 1992, about 65 tribal farmers cultivated 138 acres of land but even after their claims under Forest Rights Act, their rights has not been settled so far. In the year, 2010 they also appeared in court for their regularization, but the case is pending in the local court. Mr Venketeshwar Rao from Wagulgudam village says that for one year, 65 landless poor repeatedly applied for their regularization on occupied land but local officials are not sensitive enough to listen their petitions. In Baibaram village about 57 acres of land were distributed but, till today their land has not been given to the allotted persons.  The meeting was also supported by Netwan Sangam (a Women Tribal Forum) which engaged with the local communities since for over a decade.

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