Thatichetlapalem, Visakhapatnam district: Today’s Padayatra proceeded along the broad BRTS highway from Gopalapatnam to Kancharapalem. This was built during my father’s time. It was during my father’s tenure that Visakhapatnam was developed into greater Visakha. Beginning with basic facilities and committees, he focused on IT corridors, SEZs, Pharma city and other facets of development.

In contrast, the last four years have witnessed land grabbing of a magnitude beyond description. I got the impression that more than genuine land, Visakhapatnam seems to have land which has been acquired forcibly and illegally by leaders of the ruling party. It would not be an exaggeration to say that from a small piece of land of about hundred square yards belonging to the poor, to thousands of acres, ruling party leaders have not spared any land in this city!

I came to know that the TDP men’s gaze fell on land given to refugees from distant Burma by the government of the day. They met me and apprised me of their problem. These hapless refugees told me that the TDP leaders were trying to alter land records and grab their land.

The scale on which the land is being grabbed by ruling party leaders in and around Visakhapatnam is surreal and straight out of a Vittalacharya movie! Fictional freedom fighters are being created solely for the purpose of modifying land records and grabbing land in their name. This itself reveals the levels to which TDP men have begun to stoop from the time they came to power. The tragedy of it all is that the Hud Hud cyclone came as a godsent opportunity to TDP leaders and government officials who claim that records relating to one lakh acres have been irrecoverably lost. This excuse came in handy for them to grab land indiscriminately. When Chandrababu claims that he would turn adversity into an opportunity, perhaps this is what he means!

Under this government, creation of jobs is literally a ‘creation’ by the government or a figment of imagination rather! Sarala Devi, who belongs to the backward classes, is the wife of a poor labourer who works as a nightwatchman. She works as a tailor for a living. With great difficulty, this couple educated their two sons who completed their engineering. Their daughter is studying medicine. With the fee reimbursement scheme getting diluted, she was forced to pledge her gold ornaments to keep her education going and have had to borrow money. Her sons are eagerly looking forward to a government employment notification and she hopes that at least a private job would help them to get over their current problems.

Satyapati, who completed his MCA had a similar tale to narrate. He was hopeful of getting a small job, if nothing else, in the SC quota. He thought he would get the unemployment allowance which Chandrababu had promised. Finally, he thought he would settle for an attender's job in the government, but had to face bitter disappointment in the end. He was at his wits' end on how to support his family, because he did not even get a ration card.

I have a question for the chief minister—you had spent crores of the tax-payers' money to conduct three investors' summits, but could you at least recover the expenditure incurred on these meetings? Is it not true that more IT firms have shut down, leave alone new ones coming to the state?

Also Read:Land-Grabbing By TDP Leaders On The Rise