Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court directed the Telangana state government to initiate proceedings to acquire farmers’ lands which were submerged due to lack of proper maintenance of the Bekkam tank which is linked to the Priyadarshini Jurala project in Maabubnagar district.
Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao gave the direction while allowing a petition filed by 56 farmers of Bekkam village. The farmers wanted the irrigation department to acquire their agricultural lands which were submerged due to the enhancement of the tank bund by 500 metres. They also sought a direction to the state government to pay them compensation as per the Land Acquisition Act 2013.
The judge found fault with the department for raising the bund without giving notice to the petitioners. It observed that the decision to raise the length, width and height of the bund was taken arbitrarily in a hasty and negligent manner.
The court had earlier appointed an advocate commissioner to find out the ground situation. The commissioner in his report said that the storage tank constructed in the village was causing submergence of the petitioners’ lands. It had resulted in enormous loss and financial hardship to the farmers who are eking their livelihood by cultivating the land, the report said.
The court felt that as the loss was permanent and could not be compensated by a one-time grant of compensation, and there is no other option but to compel the state to acquire it under the 2013 Act. The judge directed the irrigation department principal secretary to initiate proceedings for acquisition of the petitioner’s lands forthwith and pay market value compensation and benefits within four months....