Hyderabad: The Telangana government’s drive to acquire thousands of acres in Nalgonda, Medak, Mahbubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts for irrigation and power projects is giving scope for land compensation frauds. Nearly 20 per cent of the lands earmarked for acquisition were found to be disputed with no documents to establish ownership.
There is so much pressure on irrigation minister T. Harish Rao and officials of the irrigation and revenue departments to complete land acquisition fast that they are conducting meetings with collectors and officials at least twice a week through video conferencing from the Secretariat.
Taking advantage of this, some local public representatives are promising owners of disputed lands of compensation on par with genuine owners and are forcing them to enter into revenue sharing ‘deals’ with them. These shady deals, if not checked by the government during verification is likely to cost the exchequer billions.
For example about 300 land owners of Veerla-palem, Talla Veerappa-gudem, Modugula Thanda and Kapoor Thanda in Nalgonda district have no registration documents. When officials went there to acquire land for the 7,000 MW-Damarcharla plant, the owners could not produce documents. When officials checked records it was found that they were disputed lands and many parcels belong to the government.
They complained to officials that they had paid money to some local leaders who promised them of ensuring compensation on par with genuine owners.
Same is the case with the Pranahitha project, where the government needs to acquire 6,700 acres to construct reservoirs in Baswapuram and Gandhamalla villages. It was found that 20 per cent of these lands were under dispute with no proper ownership documents available with owners and they too were lured by some local leaders with offers of higher compensation.
However, irrigation minister T. Harish Rao said the compensation would be paid to farmers based on ground-level verification of ownership by officials and not as per the recommendations of political leaders.
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