Hyderabad: After coming to know that revenue officials with the help of police were forcibly dispossessing farmers, land losers and affected families without providing the Rehabilitation and Resettlement package to acquire land for the construction of Komaravelli Mallanasagar Reservoir, the Telangana High Court restrained revenue officials and directed them to stay away from the lands till they paid the entire amount and provided other benefits to the aggrieved.
A division bench comprising Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Rajasheker Reddy was dealing with a contempt case by the six farmers and persons of project-affected families hailing from Etigadda Kistapur villages of erstwhile Medak district, presently Siddipet, against the revenue officials who had barged into their agricultural fields, which were acquired by the state government to construct the reservoir, to dispossess them. The farmer’s contention was that they did not get benefits of the R&R package.
Mr Ravi, counsel for the petitioners, informed the bench that the revenue officials along with nearly 500 police personnel intr-uded into the acquired fields and pressed the JCBs into the field and forcibly dispossessed farmers from the fields, even though there was a stay order, which had restricted the authorities from interfering in those lands.
The counsel further submitted photographs of the entire incident, which were taken on Wednesday morning.
After going through the photos and the stay order granted by the High court, Acting Chief Justice Chauhan asked J. Ramchander Rao, Additional Advocate General, as to why the state had resorted to the dispossession of the farmers without extending them the compensation and R&R package as assured prior to acquiring their lands.
The AAG informed the bench that the state had given Rs 1,250 crores towards the R&R package to the affected families of the project and said it was a politically-motivated case.
Reacting to the AAG’s version, the ACJ said, “Mr Rao, your statements are vague and general… none of your statements are supported by any document as per the government’s policy. The landowners, whose lands have been acquired for the project, are dependent on their lands for their livelihood and once you have acquired them, it is the state’s responsibility to show them equal livelihood and further, they should not be dispossess-ed under any circumsta-nces, till they are extended the R&R package.”
The court directed the AAG to submit the steps taken by the state to extend the R&R package to the six petitioners who were before the Court, by May 14, 2019. Till then there should be no intrusion of revenue officials into their lands and no forcible dispossession, said the ACJ.