Hyderabad: Led by TPCC President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, a delegation of Congress leaders on Wednesday met the President of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, against the forcible acquisition of farmers’ land by TRS Government in Telangana State.
“The State Government is violating the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RTFCATLARR-2013) and resorting to forcible land acquisition for different projects in the name of “Willing Sale and Procurement through GO.Ms. 123,
” said Uttam Kumar Reddy in his petition to the President. He also complained of unlawful and prolonged imposition of the Section 144 in project affected villages of Telangana and alleged that fundamental rights of farmers were being suppressed.
Uttam Kumar Reddy requested the President to take appropriate steps to prevent violation of constitutional and legal provisions in Telangana.
“Lakhs of acres of small and marginal farmers, with significant percentage of SCs and STs are being forcibly acquired by the government of Telangana, in gross violation of all constitutional safeguards and provisions in this regard.
The Farmers, Land Tenants, Agriculture Labor, Artisans have become most helpless and vulnerable and their very survival is endangered as the government is unwilling to provide the rehabilitation, resettlement and fair compensation.
The present government is disregarding the principles of democracy and ruthlessly suppressing the voice of the people,” he said.
The TPCC chief said that in the name of development projects such as irrigation projects, industrial projects, thermal power projects etc., the Government of Telangana was acquiring lakhs of acres of lands across Telangana.
It is estimated that few lakhs of farmers, land tenants, agriculture labor, artisans and several other dependents on the village economy are being displaced due to this land acquisition by the government.
There is a sizable population of SCs/STs among these farmers, agriculture labor and land tenants whose special provisions are being ignored, he said.
Uttam Kumar Reddy also accused the State Government of mishandling and manipulating the acquisition of land for irrigation projects.
“In the name of project redesign, the present government is behaving in an erratic and irrational manner altering the projects initiated by previous government.
We apprehend that the aim of the present government of Telangana is only to enhance the project costs exorbitantly and indulge in financial misappropriation,” he alleged.
The TPCC chief also gave a detailed account of how farmers’ interest was being sidelined through GO MS 123 while ignoring the provisions made under Land Acquisition Act, 2013.
“There is no willful sale of land by farmers and the government was literally bulldozing and blackmailing them to sell away their lands using revenue and police officials,”
he said while giving complete details of how the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 2013 were violated in the case of Mallanna Sagar and other projects.
Besides denying a fair compensation, Rehabilitation & Resettlement, the TRS Government did not take up the Social Impact Assessment Study and the Environmental Impact.
“As per the Land Acquisition Act 2013, at every step Grani-Sabhas have to be conducted and our objections and suggestions need to be considered. No grams sabhas have been held in any village,” he said.
“We are apprehensive of the safety and well being of farmers, farm labour and artisans of project affected villages until unless there is a serious intervention from the President of India.
You may kindly consider directing the Government of India to ensure that all constitutional and legal provisions are adhered to in land acquisition from small and marginal farmers of Telangana state.
Only your kind intervention will install confidence in the public of Telangana,” Uttam Kumar Reddy appealed to the President.
The TPCC chief also urged the President to direct the Government of Telangana to mandatorily implement RTFCATLARR-2013 Act so that Farmers, Land Tenants, Agriculture Labor, Artisans etc.,
would get the R&R and social security benefits appropriately and a transparent and democratic process is followed by the Telangana Government before deciding on the public purpose and acquisition of the lands.
He also demanded lifting of Section 144 in the project affected villages and withdrawal of false cases against the villagers.
The Congress delegation comprised of Leaders of Opposition K. Jana Reddy (Assembly) and Mohammed Ali Shabbir (Council), TPCC Working President Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, ex-PCC President Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Rajya Sabha MP Palwai Godvardhan Reddy, ex-Deputy CM Damodar Rajanarasimha and other senior leaders. (INN)