For the last seven days, hundreds of people in Thalla Proddutur village of Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district are protesting against alleged forceful eviction from their homes alleging that the government has not sanctioned the promised rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) packages of Gandikota reservoir project. The project affected families are demanding rehabilitation as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
First conceived in 2006, the 26 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet) reservoir will submerge about 22 villages in Kondapuram mandal of Kadapa district. The government has begun work for the construction of the second phase of the reservoir and has urged the people in submergence villages to leave their homes.
Affected people in the villages such as Thalla Proddutur, Chalmaluru, Yerragudi are claiming that thousands of families are yet to receive proper compensation for the project and are complaining about the resettlement colonies allotted by the government. The protests began as water entered the village after the irrigation department began releasing water into the reservoir.
Reportedly, of the total 9,000 project affected families, about 5,700 are yet to get compensation.
Successive governments have neglected the project affected families, said Jayasree Kakumani, state vice president of Human Rights Forum. Jayasree was put under house-arrest by the district police as she was organising the project affected families. “Thousands of project affected families are yet to be compensated. The YSRCP (YSR Congress Party) leaders who have supported the demands of villagers before coming to power have forgotten their promises. The officials are forcing people to leave villages and attempting to pull down their houses instead of compensating them and arranging proper resettlement for families,” she said.
She added that the authorities did not even provide the basic amenities and infrastructure on the 95 acres of land at Jogapuram village allocated for the project affected families. “They could not even complete the acquisition of another 80 acres of land meant for this purpose at Jogapuram. The only thing they did was hurriedly lay a few roads and provide single phase electricity in the past 10 days. It is appalling that authorities expect the project affected families to live in the wilderness at Jogapuram and are using coercive measures to evacuate the villagers,” she said.
Also read: Telangana: Tribals Resist ‘Haritha Haram’ on Their Podu Lands
“It is evident that the affected people of Thalla Proddatur have not been suitably and adequately compensated and the R&R package has serious flaws and not been satisfactory, fair and just. While due process of law and principles of R&R have not been adhered to, the local people are being subjected to acute trauma,” a press release by the Human Rights Forum stated.
Meanwhile, state irrigation minister P Anil Kumar Yadav on Tuesday, September 8, said that the YSRCP government has released Rs 676 crore under R&R package and another Rs 296 crore will be sanctioned soon.
“So far only 700 people have got compensation under the R & R package, where should those people go with no alternate housing facility? There are no facilities in the rehabilitation colony. This eviction gives us a short notice. We want the government to settle our compensation and rehabilitation as per the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, only then will we leave this place,” Rajesh, one of the project affected persons in Tallaproddutur was quoted as saying.