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PDFs unhappy with fixing 18 years as age of youths for compensation

DECCAN CHRONICLE | dc correspondent

Published on: December 27, 2021 | Updated on: December 28, 2021

The Polavaram Project Displaced Families are unhappy with the government over the fixing of the compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement packages. (DC file photo)

KAKINADA: The Polavaram Project Displaced Families are unhappy with the government over the fixing of the compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement packages to only those who have completed age 18 before the issuing of preliminary notification.

According to the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Act 2013, the age of 18 should be fixed after issuing a preliminary notification. But, the government is not doing this, activists said.

Most of the petitions in this respect have sought to change the cut-off date of attaining the 18 years of age and to request the National Commissioners for Schedule Tribes to re-conduct the survey, as the displacements have not taken place at one time. They have demanded compensation to all those who have attained the age of 18 years by the time of actual displacement.

But, the state government said the preliminary notification date is considered as the cut-off date for determination of PDF as per RFCTLARR Act 2013. This rule is being followed and requests are considered as per provisions of RFCTLARR Act 2013 and the relevant rules.

It will not be possible to change the cut-off date as per the existing rules, the government has stressed.

The social activists and advocates who are fighting for tribal rights have condemned the submission of the government.

Social activist and advocate Achuta Desai told DC that the officials determined the cut-off date at 18 years of age in Year 2005 and they issued a preliminary notification in Year 2016. "The government said the cut-off date of 18 years was fixed three years before the issue of the preliminary notification. This is totally wrong and an injustice to the PDFs."

He said that, according to the act, after issuing a preliminary notification, the officials should make a socio-economic survey and identify the 18-year-olds and their names should be exhibited in Grama Sabhas. Also, the government should take new proposals, if any, from the people in the Grama Sabha, he said.

Desai added that recently, Rampachodavaram ITDA gave an answer to a question regarding the Resettlement and Rehabilitation package, to the effect that 33 villages in Devipatnam mandal have been shifted, out of the 44 villages there, and the remaining 11 villages under Kondamodalu Panchayat would be shifted, and that the PDFs are demanding that 420 acres of land be handed over to them under land-to-land scheme.

He said the people of Devipatnam mandal in East Godavari and other villages in West Godavari were forcibly shifted to safe places during the floods when villages were submerged. The government did not implement the R&R packages so far. Now, the officials are not considering those villages under R&R package.

The PDFs alleged that in the years 2005 and 2009, the officials had made a survey and identified the 18-years old. But, many of the names in the list have disappeared by now and the officials are not ready for payment of compensation to those youths. In the case of the girls who have completed 18 years and got married, the officials have left out their names. This is gross injustice to them, PDFs said.

The project-displaced families requested the government to rectify the lacunas and anomalies in R&R packages and do justice to them.