Amaravati, February 25: Urging Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to give the Indian Railways-owned land to nearly 800 poor families situated there, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Wednesday offered alternative land to the Railways in lieu of the encroached area.

In a letter to Goyal, Chief Minister said nearly 800 poor families were living in houses that they have built in the railway lands in Raja Rajeswari Peta area of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC).

"These poor residents have been living for more than 30 years in the same area and have made several representations to the government to regularise the encroachments. No meaningful effort had been made in the past to resolve the issue,'' the Chief Minister said. Rapid Industrialisation of Andhra Pradesh Possible Only if Special Category Status Granted, Says CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Andhra CM said that as the lands encroached upon by the poor families belong to the Railways, and keeping in view of the long nature of encroachments, it is proposed to offer suitable government land to Railways as part of the exchange in lieu of the encroached land. The Chief Minister also pointed out that the railways have not put the land to any use for more than 30 years.

"The land identified by the State government to be given to Railways is very suitable and is also located within the limits of the VMC. More so, the land offered in exchange is of equal value. Both the encroached land and land proposed in exchange is of equal value,'' Jagan said.

He further added that both the encroached land and the land proposed for exchange were inspected by a joint team of Railways and Revenue.

The railway officers had expressed their opinion to the district collector that the encroached land is of little use and they would be in a better position to utilise the proposed land which is located adjacent to 25 acres of railway land in Ajit Singh Nagar, the Chief Minister added.