Hyderabad: On October 16, seven people were arrested in Yacharam mandal of Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district for protesting against the government’s land acquisition for the proposed Hyderabad Pharma City (HPC) project. While the state government is planning to begin the construction of the project by the end of the year, hundreds of farmers, supported by opposition parties, are opposing the project over environmental and livelihood concerns.
The proposed pharma city is located in 19,333 acres of land across Kandukur, Yacharam and Kadthal mandals of Ranga Reddy district and will cost an estimated Rs 5,157 crore. As per reports, so far, the authorities have already acquired 8,400 acres of land.
As per the proposed plan, “major portion of HPC land will be used for pharma manufacturing,
while the rest of the land is proposed to be developed for a Pharma University, Pharma R&D and ancillary hub and Pharma City Township with all allied social and physical infrastructure.”
However, the hundreds of farmers from the project-affected villages are opposing the construction of the project there.
On Friday, state police arrested seven people from Yacharam mandal for staging a ‘rasta roko’ protest obstructing Manchireddy Kisan Reddy, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA from Ibrahimpatnam, from visiting Medipally village. Addressing a press conference in Hyderabad, Saraswati Kavula, a farmer activist, said that MLA Kisan Reddy has been threatening the farmers to surrender their land. “In this context, when farmers staged a protest against his visit to their village, several of them were beaten and arrested,” she said.
The Telangana High Court is also hearing a set of petitions filed by a group of farmers unwilling to give away their land for the construction of the project.
“It is a disaster in making that is designed for real estate benefits,” says Dr Narasimha Reddy, a public policy expert and consultant at Pesticide Action Network (PAN) India. Reddy, who has been advocating against industrial pollution for the last 30 years, said that the pollution by pharmaceutical industries is widespread and chronic in industrial areas around Hyderabad including Patancheru, Jeedimetla, Choutuppal, Polepalli, and other areas. He added that the pharma city, with a cluster of more than 1,500 water-guzzling and red category pharmaceutical industries side by side, is a potential threat to the natural resources, agricultural land and water bodies in the region.
While the TRS ministers have been claiming that the HPC will attract large scale investments to the state, opposition parties including Congress, Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party are up in arms against the project fearing environmental damages and are alleging forceful acquisition of land.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) held a protest rally across the affected mandals. Addressing a public gathering, Tammineni Veerabhadram, general secretary of the state unit of the CPI(M), said they will launch an agitation against any forceful acquisition of land by the government.
The Telangana Congress too is planning to stage a protest against the project in Delhi. Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, state Congress Leader, alleged that the TRS- led government is forcefully acquiring 8,000 acres of assigned lands from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and marginal farmers and urged them to resist the acquisition.