Andhra Pradesh government took back 20 acres of encroached land from the possession of Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management (GITAM) in the city. “GITAM has encroached upon 40 acres of government land. So far we have retrieved 20 acres of that land,” a revenue department official confirmed to IANS.
Revenue officials and policemen reached the GITAM campus on Saturday morning with a JCB vehicle and demolished the compound wall standing on the retrieved land.
“No building was destroyed, only the compound wall was demolished and vacant encroached land has been taken over. We set up a barrier till where we retrieved. Currently, the work is going on,” he said.
According to the official, there was resistance from the management of the college, but the revenue department officials convinced the GITAM officials that the land had been in encroachment for a long time.
“We convinced and took back our (government) land,” he pointed out.
He said the revenue department first noticed that the land was in illegal occupation in 2014, though it may have been encroached earlier.
“Five months back we came here, surveyed and showed the management where they had encroached the land. We have also done a clear cut marking. They know what is happening and we informed them earlier,” observed the revenue official.
However, no notice was issued to the college management, other than oral instructions.
GITAM was set up in 1980 by M.V.V.S. Murthi, who perished in a road accident in 2018 in Alaska. A senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader, Murthi was elected to the Lok Sabha twice (1991 and 1999).
GITAM group of institutions have expanded widely with large campuses in Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, starting from schools to postgraduate courses.
Currently, GITAM is being run by Murthi’s grandson M. Sri Bharat. Bharat is married to the youngest daughter of Hindupur TDP MLA and Nara Chandrababu Naidu’s brother-in-law Nandamuri Balakrishna.
Bharat unsuccessfully contested the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 General Elections.
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