Hyderabad: Hyderabad High Court on Monday cautioned Andhra Pradesh Government that all land acquisitions for various projects in the state will be halted and a field inquiry is required to identify eligible persons, who need to be given compensation, for land acquired from them for various projects in the state.
The High Court was responding to Andhra Pradesh Government’s statement that there are no eligible persons under the project affected category in 448 notifications issued for land acquisition for various projects in the state.
A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice K. Vijaya Lakshmi was dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Workers’ Union, represented by its secretary Venkateswarlu, challenging the action of the authorities concerned in resorting to displace the affected families under the various projects without announcing resettlement and rehabilitation packages.
On April 24, the Bench found fault with the method adopted by the authorities of the Andhra Pradesh Government in identifying the project affected families.
It directed the Andhra Pradesh Government to furnish the list of awards passed so far to provide benefits to affected families in the 600 notifications issued for land acquisition in the state by April 30.
When this case came up for hearing, Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh Dammalapati Srinivas told the court there were no project affected families in the 448 notifications — none of the artisans, agriculture labourers and other affected people were included.
He submitted that the authorities had conducted door-to-door survey and also public hearing and none of the people came forward stating any difficulty caused to them due to the land acquisitions in their area.
The Advocate General also said that they also admitted that they will not fall under the project affected families as they are seasonal workers.
He further submitted that the land owners also admitted that there are no project affected people in their areas where land acquisitions are on.
Reacting to the submissions of the AG, the Bench said: “It is unbelievable and also a wonder. When you conduct a survey, you would either add ineligible people or you would say that there are no eligible people.”
While stating that the court has doubt on the government’s statement, the Bench asked the AG whether the court can examine the notifications issued by the government in the newspapers or will the AG place the truth before the court on his own.
The Bench warned that it will stall the entire land acquisitions in the state if it is found that the information provided by the authorities are false.
The Bench asked how the authorities could claim that they are seasonal workers when some areas have only one crop while some areas have two or three crops.
The Bench also asked as to how the authorities could claim that there are no eligible families when those engaged in farm activities are defined as poor agricultural labourers.
When the AG sought to adjourn the case to get instructions from the authorities concerned , the Bench adjourned the case to Wednesday.