Hyderabad: Over 170 farmers and their families in Kudikilla village of Kollapur Mandal in Telangana’s Nagarkurnool district are unitedly opposing ongoing works of the Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) in the district. According to farmers’ organisations, with land acquisition for the PRLIS, farmers in Kudikilla village will be displaced for the third time due to government projects.
“Farmers who were displaced due to the construction of Srisailam dam were settled in Kudikilla village several decades ago. The villagers gave over 4,000 acres of land for the Mahatma Gandhi Lift Irrigation Scheme. Now the government is trying to forcefully take away their land without even offering proper compensation,” said Shiva Varma, Kollapur secretary of Communist party of India (Marxist). He said farmers were not opposing the project but were demanding proper compensation for land acquisition.
“Farmers are being offered a compensation of Rs 4 to 5 lakh per acre whereas similar projects in other parts of the state were offered higher compensation. Hence, farmers are demanding compensation, as given for the affected people of Mallanna Sagar project in Medak district,” said Varma. He said the officials concerned could not even conduct a socio- economic survey for the project in the village amid massive resistance from farmers.
“Why can't the government respect the poor farmers who are ready to give away their agriculture land for the third time for government projects?” said Raghavachary of Palamuru Adhyayana Vedika. An Irrigation expert, Raghavachary said the government was being ‘insensitive’ toward the livelihood of people in Kudikilla village.
Reportedly, a total of 36,000 acres was planned to be acquired for PRLIS project from 16 gram panchayats and 20 tandas (tribal hamlets).
Jabbar, a CPI(M) Telangana state committee member, who has participated in numerous protests called by the project-affected people in Kollapur mandal, said the farmers were not against the project but were demanding legitimate compensation, either as per the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, or alternative land.
“Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and his party MLAs from the district have on numerous occasions promised proper compensation and employment opportunities for the project-affected people. But, now they are silent while the project work is ongoing in the lands of farmers without their consent,” he said.
According to farmers’ organisations, about 16,000 acres has been given away for projects by farmers in Kudikilla village.
“Demanding similar compensation for similar projects across the state, farmers from Kollapur mandal have filed a petition in state High Court,” said Srinivasulu, of Telangana Rythu Sangam.
It is to be noted that the project works are going at a snail’s pace after the foundation stone was laid June 11, 2015.
According to local news reports, farmers in several villages in Nagarkurnool district have resisted the project works demanding proper compensation.
“Our family has lost 15 acres of agricultural land for Srisaila, Kalvakurthy projects. Now the officials are coming for land again but are offering low compensation. We get a sense that we are being forcefully driven away from our own land,” said Chandrayya of Kudikilla village.
The government needs to keep its promise and address the concerns of the aggrieved farmers, said Varma, alleging that “when the officials began to conduct a survey in the village for the project, several farmers even attempted suicides as their demands were not addressed”.