Pawan Kalyan threatens indefinite hunger strike over 'coerced' land pooling for Andhra capital

Guntur, Mar 5: Actor-turned-Jana Sena President Pawan Kalyan on Thursday threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike if the Andhra Pradesh government tries to "forcibly" acquire land from farmers for setting up new state capital.

Pawan Kalyan threatens hunger strike

The popular cine actor, who visited the proposed capital region area near Guntur, said he would check whether the farmers are giving their land willfully under the "land pooling" or the government is "acquiring the land".

"I stand behind you right now. I will not accept if your lands are being forcibly taken. I will fight if land is acquired through land acquisition. Nobody will take away your land (forcibly). I will talk (to the people at helm) whether so much of land (33,000 acres) is necessary to build capital.

"Whether they are ministers or anybody else they cannot threaten you. Those days have gone. We are in a democracy now. There is no necessity to transform villages into cities," Kalyan told farmers at Betapudi village.

Kalyan, who was a staunch supporter of the Telugu Desam-BJP combine during the last elections, said he is even ready go on an indefinite fast against the government's policy of land pooling.

In Hyderabad, reacting to Kalyan's remarks, AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu justified the land pooling for the capital saying that 95 per cent of farmers gave land "voluntarily".

"Nearly 32,000 acres of land was given under land pooling voluntarily. Nobody forced them to give land. Only five or 10 people are objecting. In democracy, when 95 per cent have agreed why some should have objections," a visibly annoyed CM said, when his attention was drawn to Kalyan's remarks.

Naidu said the Singapore agency which is entrusted with the capital design is expected to submit the design for the core capital area in June. After that, the government will decide the demarcation of areas for residential and industrial purposes.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is interested in developing urban transportation projects for the new capital and the government will hold discussion with the Japanese agency, Naidu added.


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