Kothagudem: The land acquisition process for the open cast mines of the Singareni Collieries Company Limited has become an ugly affair with a nexus between a section of officials of the revenue department, the mining company officials and middlemen.
Compensation settlement for land evacuees and other affected dwellers have not been completed even after 10 years. This issue has been noticed in the land acquisition of Sattupalli, Yellandu, Koyagudem and Manuguru open cast mines.
The Land Acquisition Act, 2013, of the Centre and the subsequent law passed by the state government has also caused delays.
First, there is no time-bound mechanism in land acquisition and compensation. The government should set a time limit and ask officials involved to complete the process. There will be no negotiations after the time limit over.
The Hawahar Khani open cast mine in Yellandu is an example for the troubles cause because of the lack of a proper system. The compensation has not been completed even after nine years. About 450 hectares was acquired for the mine in Yellandu.
Secondly, the involvement of middlemen is clearly seen in every land acquisition. These middlemen collect information of families which resided in the village long ago and approach them.
These families are told that they will get compensation under the affected families’ quota if they cooperate and assure 50 per cent of the compensation to the middlemen.
They are then added to list of affected families in the village. There is an understanding between middlemen, revenue officials and SCCL officials.
Fake families are entered in the project affected families’ list. Under the Relief and Rehabilitation Act, families who had no land will be paid a lump sum. This is shared by the middlemen, revenue and SCCL officials and the fake families.
Hence, officials are more interested in settling the issue of fake families rather than the real ones. Farmers who lost their lands approach the court of law due to lack of sincerity in officials in settling their land compensation.
The land acquisition of Sattupalli is an example of this. Farmers of Komme-palli in Sattupalli mandal were not compensated even after nine years. Mr Rajendra Prasad of Yella-ndu said, “Government should minimise the role of middlemen and pay compensation as generously as possible. There should be a time-bound schedule.”