Andhra Pradesh: Chief Minister to distribute sites to EWS at R5 Zone in Amaravati on May 26 amidst protests by farmers, Opposition

A view of the layouts at the R5 Zone at Krishnayapalem in Amaravati.
| Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

The R5 Zone in Amaravati where Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is scheduled to distribute  house sites to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) on May 26 has the people’s attention riveted on it for obvious reasons.

It has been in the news for quite some time, as the local farmers, who had parted their lands for the construction of the capital city of Amaravati, are opposing the EWS / affordable housing scheme tooth and nail.

Their argument is that the government cannot go ahead with the provision of house sites to the EWS in the zone spread across 10 villages till the issue is sorted out by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, and pending final adjudication of the three capitals case by the Supreme Court.

Basically, the farmers are insisting that the said housing scheme is in blatant violation of the High Court order in the decentralisation (three capitals) case dated March 3, 2022.

What is R5 Zone

Now, what is this R5 Zone all about?

It is a new residential zone created by the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) to provide house sites measuring a cent (40.48 square metres) each to the poor.

Section 53 (1) of the CRDA Act of 2014 stipulates allotment of at least five percent of the total area pooled under the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS) for affordable housing for the poor.

Accordingly, four residential zones, namely R1, R2, R3, and R4, were notified.

The R1 Zone is earmarked for “low-rise developments” within the existing villages with a minimum plot size of 100 square metres. R2 is a zoning district meant for the development of low-density housing on plots measuring not less than 250 square metres. The R3 Zone is earmarked for medium to high-density housing with a minimum plot size of 100 square metres, while the R4 Zone is designated for high-density housing with a minimum plot size of 4,000 square metres.

Since the government’s plan to get houses built for EWS does not fit in any one of these zones, the APCRDA has carved out the R-5 Zone.

A total extent of 1,402.58 acres has been identified in 10 villages — Inavolu, Navuluru, Krishnayapalem, Kuragallu, Borupalem, Pitchukalapalem, Nekkallu, Ananthavaram, Nidamarru and Mandadam — for accommodating 51,392 beneficiaries (650.65 acres for 23,860 beneficiaries from Guntur district and 751.94 acres for 27,532 beneficiaries of NTR district).

Government’s contention

The State government maintains thatno zone has been created for the EWS despite there being a statutory mandate under Section 53(1)(d) of the APCRDA Act, read with the relevant provisions of the A.P. Capital City Land Pooling Scheme (Formulation and Implementation) Rules, 2015.

The government is keen on providing house sites to the poor, despite the opposition parties reportedly creating hurdles.

The opposition parties are objecting to the allotment of house sites to the EWS under the proposed scheme, saying that it is basically against the norms laid down in the CRDA Act, and it is a part of the YSR Congress Party’s “larger political game plan.”

The zone is meant for development of Electronics City, which is one of the nine thematic cities in Amaravati conceived by the previous Telugu Desam Party government. Therefore, the purpose will be defeated if the EWS housing in R5 Zone takes a tangible shape, says the Opposition.

Supreme Court directive

While disposing of the SLP filed by the farmers, the Supreme Court recently directed the State government to make it clear that the house site title deeds (pattas) would be subject to the result of the orders and decision to be rendered in the writ petitions pending in the High Court.

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