Amaravati: Cash-starved Andhra Pradesh government will borrow Rs 5,000 crore from public sector Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO) to purchase over 12,000 acres of land, to be distributed to the landless poor across the State.
The State government has announced it will distribute house sites and housing units to over 25 lakh beneficiaries on Telugu New Year’s Day Ugadi on March 25.
Officials estimated that a total of over 40,000 acres of land would be required for distribution to the landless poor. While about 27,000 acres of government land was identified for distribution, another 15,000 acres has to be acquired from private people.
In some districts, lands earmarked for industrial promotion are also being converted into housing sites since there has been no industrial development in the last few years, official sources said.
“We will have to purchase about 12,000 acres from farmers and other landlords while another 3,000 acres will be secured under a land pooling scheme. To purchase the land, we require about Rs 5,000 crore and the HUDCO agreed to lend the money,” a Revenue Department official said.
Initially the government estimated that 19,000 acres would have to be purchased at a cost of over Rs 10,000 crore. The state government approached LIC Housing Finance to fund the amount, treating it as a housing project and not merely house site distribution.
“But we managed to identify extra government land and to that extent the need for acquisition has come down. The financial burden on the government has also reduced significantly and HUDCO has come forward to arrange the necessary loan,” the Revenue official added.
Opposition Telugu Desam alleged that the government was taking over Hindu Endowment lands, to be converted and distributed as house sites. Taking strong exception to this, TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh sought to know how the government could take over Hindu Endowments lands for free distribution. Countering this, Endowments Minister Velampalli Srinivas maintained that there was no move to give away temple lands. “It is all false propaganda,” he said.