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Menon, Roshni (2022) Land-Pooling In Andhra Pradesh, India: A study of protracted dispossession and manufactured compliance in Amaravati. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00036746

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Abstract

After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and residual Andhra in 2014, the ruling TDP government announced plans to build an ambitious new capital city, christened Amaravati, on the southern banks of the Krishna River in Guntur district. This purported “pioneer smart city of India” and “dream capital” was expected to not only serve as an engine of growth and development for the rest of Andhra, but to also fill the emotional void left behind by the loss of Hyderabad, to Telangana. The government sought to build the city through an alternate method of land assembly called the land pooling scheme, which it claimed would make farmers in the region “shareholders of development.” This was contrasted against the more arduous processes involved under the Central government’s Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. However, through fieldwork conducted in the 25 villages and four hamlets that comprise the capital region, this dissertation demonstrates how land pooling has characteristics of previous episodes of enclosures, whilst also demonstrating new features or variations in the manner in which land is appropriated and used. Specifically, in the context of Amaravati, it amounts to a continuous process of strategizing and negotiation, generating a protracted and continuous process of dispossession stretching over years. Furthermore, the announcement of the capital city had intensely differentiated impacts on the residents there as the convergence of an exclusionary economic growth and urbanization plan with pre-existing caste-based agrarian inequalities exacerbated the socioeconomic inequalities between dominant landed castes and more marginalized castes. Thus, the large contingent of landless people (mostly Dalits), who had previously enjoyed reliable work cultivating rich, multi-cropped and irrigated lands in the ‘rice bowl’ of the State, were made worse off in absolute terms through mass job loss. Even where some Dalits had gained access to land (through for example, being assigned ceiling or lanka lands), land pooling became a vehicle for the politics of co-option, intimidation and elite-capture. This ultimately amounted to a reversal of historical gains made earlier in Andhra from land distribution policies designed to uplift poorer segments of society.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Jens Lerche
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00036746
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2022 17:22
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/36746

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