Farmers anguished over losing lands

Farmers anguished over losing lands
Highlights

we just want to meet the Chief Minister at least once. After we pour out our grievances, whatever decision the Chief Minister takes, it is okay with us,” say the desperate villagers of Erravelli under Kondapaka mandal and Vemulghat under Thoguta mandal. Their request for audience with the Chief Minister was turned down time and again. 

Thoguta (Medak): “we just want to meet the Chief Minister at least once. After we pour out our grievances, whatever decision the Chief Minister takes, it is okay with us,” say the desperate villagers of Erravelli under Kondapaka mandal and Vemulghat under Thoguta mandal. Their request for audience with the Chief Minister was turned down time and again.

  • Villagers of Erravelli and Vemughat want to meet the Chief Minister just once and pour out their grievances
  • Revenue teams going from one village to another are trying to coax the ryots to give consent letters

The land acquisition for Mallanna Sagar reservoir with a capacity to carry 50 tmcft water as part of Kaleswaram project (formerly Pranahitha-Chevella) is being carried out at a rapid pace. The villages will face submergence when the project is completed.

Revenue teams have been deployed in villages to complete the acquisition process as soon as possible. Consent for alienating the lands have been given by the villagers of Brahmana Banjerupally, Thoguta, Etigaddakistapur, Laxmapur and other hamlets under these gram panchayats of Thoguta mandal, though farmers are opposed to lose their lands.

Since Monday, revenue officials have been busy coaxing the farmers to give consent letters, but the compensation package has not been announced so far. The farmers are crying in anguish over losing their land and thus their livelihood.

The Revenue teams are preparing to take up the land acquisition next in Vemulghat, a village surrounded nestled in hills and forest area. Nallacheruvu and Komaticheruvu, the two huge tanks in the village, get filled with rainwater which comes down the hills through forest.

The villagers say that both the tanks directly irrigate around 500 acres of land in the village and the water which overflows from the tanks also joins Kudleruvagu, a local stream which is another source of irrigation for other neighbouring villages.

The area is so well irrigated that even in a severe drought like the one prevailing this year, one of the tanks still has plenty of water to irrigate fields and for drinking purpose for the cattle.Vemulghat is a village which gives highest agricultural output under Thoguta mandal.

Villagers have cultivated paddy in 400 acres of land even as the drought has devastating effect elsewhere. The villagers have grown special male-female variety of paddy (the female variety costs Rs 13,000 per quintal in the market). The villagers are harvesting up to 7 quintals per acre.

“We know that fodder has become scarce in the prevailing drought year. Farmers have been going great distances to buy fodder at Rs 100-150 per small heap. But Vemulghat is one village where fodder is available in abundance.According to the villagers, 60-70 tractor loads of fodder have been supplied to Gajwel constituency from this village recently.

Even in the past, when land acquisition for Tarkapally reservoir (now named Mallanna Sagar) was proposed, Revenue officials were then able to dig canals in only 12 acres out of the 137 acres which needed to be acquired for construction of canals.

The villagers were adamant and did not cooperate with the Revenue officials in land acquisition back then.What makes Vemulghat crucial in the land acquisition process is that a whole chunk of land, about 5172 acres, will be acquired in this village alone. With 1,800 acres of land coming under forest area, 3,372 acres still need to be acquired from the villagers, which would become a challenge for the administration. The project would also submerge about 700 houses in the village.

As of now, negotiations between the villagers, Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao, as well as the Joint Collector Venkatrami Reddy have failed to give a solution to the controversy. The farmers of Vemulghat are observing non- cooperation and are still standing united against the proposed Rs 5.85 lakh compensation per acre being offered by the government for patta lands. For assigned lands, there is still no clarity about the compensation, but according to Revenue officials, on an average people are getting Rs 3.5 lakh compensation per an acre.

The farmers of Vemulghat say that the deal being offered to them is unfair, keeping in mind the availability of water, fertility of soil, high agricultural yield and various other factors.

The villagers are so dejected about the way in which land acquisition is being carried out. The villagers have decided that if the government fails to heed their demands, they would prefer giving away their lands free as gift to the government. Vemulghat is not the only village taking this stand.

The people of Erravally gram panchayat which comes under Gajwel constituency are worried about losing their village in the project. They too want to meet the Chief Minister just once and represent their grievances.

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