Protests by Gandikota Reservoir oustees in Talla Proddutur village in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district entered its 27th day as water from the reservoir flooded the village, submerging agriculture fields and several houses on Tuesday.
Hundreds of families affected by the project have been alleging that the government officials are forcing them to vacate the village while the implementation of the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) package remains pending.
“The government officials are deliberately increasing the water level in the reservoir despite being aware that the village people have not been relocated. Flood water has entered the low lying areas in the village where mostly people belonging to SC, ST and OBCs reside,” said Jayasree Kakumani, state vice president of Human Rights Forum. Earlier this month, Kakumani was put under house arrest for two days for joining the protests.
Meanwhile, on Monday, while hearing a public interest litigation seeking compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, for Gandikota project oustees, the Andhra Pradesh High Court asked the state government to file its counter and posted the matter for further hearing to October 7.
First conceived in 2006, the 26-TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet) reservoir will submerge 22 villages in Kondapuram mandal of Kadapa district. The government has begun work for the second phase of the reservoir and has urged the people in villages within the submergence area to leave their homes.
Reportedly, of the total 9,000 project-affected families, around 5,700 are yet to get compensation.
“People from the Madiga community are finding it difficult to rent new houses as upper caste people continue to discriminate against them. On the other hand, there is a lot of work pending at the rehabilitation centres,” said Kakumani.
Adi Lakshmi of Talla Proddutur village has moved to a government school in the area with her family. The school is the current rehabilitation centre as flood water has entered their house. She says that there are not enough toilets in the school and three to four families are staying in each room.
The protesters are demanding rehabilitation and proper facilities such as roads, drainage connection and other basic infrastructure at the R&R colonies. They are also seeking at least one year time for construction of houses at the sites allotted to them.
“Many families have not been compensated but their houses are already submerged. Such is the state government’s apathy,” says Kakumani.
The project affected families are continuing their protest demonstrations in the floodwater.
The government has pushed Talla Proddutur villagers to be on roads, laments Narayan Reddy, a villager. “Our family is yet to receive compensation. We are forced to vacate our houses and the facilities at the rehabilitation centre are pathetic,” he said.