Eleven families are cultivating 25 acres of land in Revenue Village M.K. Patanam in Vishakapatanam district. In 2003 a domineering Congress party leader who had also contested for MLA seat earlier, filed an injunction case – O.S. No. 362 / 2003 against these tribal families in order to capture their lands. These poor families’ names are duly recorded as the real cultivators in official land registers, which correctly implies that they are in possession of the said land. When the case against them was files unjustifiably, an earlier tehsildar gave deposition in court confirming that the tribal farmers are in possession of the said land, this helped the tribals in winning the case.
Now, when the present government introduced the system of maintaining electronic land records (ADANGAL/PAHANI), the tribal farmers names again disappeared from those digital records. When social activist found out about this, they helped the tribals to reach higher authorities. After long persuasion and agitations the tribal cultivators’ names were successfully entered in the digital cultivation accounts in WebLand system of AP government. But in the month of July again, the tribal families were surprised to know that all their names were removed.
The tahsildar Pentakota Appalanaidu uploaded names of few rich and influential people in the present records replacing actual owners. These new names are of non–resident persons. One is Congress party leader’s family and another is a former Zilla Panchayat Vice Chairman. On 23/07/2016 in S. No. 139/1, 139/2, 139/3 in the WebLand records of No. 3 Adangal at column number 13 the Chatarijupuram tribal people were in possession of 10.83 cents of land. On the same date the WebLand Adangal of S.No 131/3, 14.53 cents of land was in possession of tribal people. But these records in above cited survey numbers were found to be tempered with on 4 August 2017 where the tribal farmers’ names were removed!
Adasaram village: In a similar way, the records in Adasaram village at S.No 83, 84 were changed. These lands are cultivated by the backward caste and dalit poor of Konthalama village. Their names were present in manually kept written records and for a time span in digital land records too. But the digital records are tempered again to help the land grabbers. Incidentally, same tahsildar mentioned above was posted in Rolugunta Mandal when the tampering took place.
CPI(ML) On 18 September 2017 held a rally in Narasipatanam against the tampering of land records which is proving to be a new means of oppressing poor peasants and tribal people by the already dominant corrupt people enjoying various kinds of political and administrative protections. The rally started from RTC bus stand and culminated at RDO office where a memorandum was submitted to the RDO.
On 25 September hundreds of tribal farmers from Rolugunta Mandal participated in a mass protest sit-in organized in Vishakapatanam. CPI(ML) Andhra State Secretary B. Bangar Rao addressed the dharna and said that the much hyped Chandrababu Naidu introduced ‘WebLand’ system is not for the poor, weaker sections of farming community. This new land records system is only facilitating the land grab by land-mafia and creating a kind of land market for non-cultivating sections’ land needs even to the extent that a number of Non Resident Indian citizens are being attracted in this vicious circle. This system supposed to be helping those poor lacking resources, has instead created greater insecurity in their minds. Besides, the Revenue officials from top to bottom are milking crores of rupees from poor in the name of correcting the wrongs in online land record. Sometimes officials wilfully change the records to exploit the poor peasant families. Now the Revenue department has gradually transformed itself into one of the mafia partners in the loot of the lands from the legal owners.
P. Janardhan, District Secretary of All India Rural and Agricultural Labour Association (AIRALA) also addressed the protest sit-in and extended support.