(IANS) Bowing to growing protest by farmers and opposition parties, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday announced that farmers going to be affected by Mallanna Sagar irrigation project will be paid compensation in the manner being sought by them.
Rao’s announcement came even as opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Revanth Reddy went on a fast to demand adequate compensation to farmers in 14 villages in Medak district which will be submerged with the construction of the reservoir across Godavari river.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, said the government would justice to the oustees by paying compensation according to the Land Acquisition Act 2013 or Government Order 123.
Irrigation Minister Harish Rao met the chief minister to discuss the issue in detail in the wake of increasing protests by the farmers and growing support to the protestors from the opposition parties.
Harish Rao said as per GO 123, a farmer losing an acre of land with a borewell in it will be paid Rs 7 lakh as compensation, and without it, Rs 5.8 lakh. The displaced family will get a double bedroom house under the government’s housing scheme for poor.
Under Land Acquisition Act 2013, a farmer losing his land will get thrice its registration value. However, payment of compensation under this Act is a lengthy process.
The minister already said that the farmers will be the losers if they opt for Land Acquisition Act as the land value in the villages to be submerged by the project is only Rs 60,000.
He had also made it clear that the government has every right to acquire the land for the project as it is aimed at benefiting lakhs of people.
Demanding fair compensation to farmers, the opposition parties have claimed that the actual value of one acre of land in these villages is more than Rs 15 lakh.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government appealed to farmers not to allow themselves to be misled by the opposition parties, who are creating hurdles in the path of state’s development.
The ruling party leaders went to the extent of appealing to people not to allow leaders of Congress, TDP, BJP and Telangana Joint Action Committee to enter the villages. Protests were also organised in support of the project.
Mallanna Sagar project is designed to irrigate 12 lakh acres in Nizamabad, Medak, Rangareddy and Nalgonda districts.
Being taken up at a cost of Rs 9,800 crore, it is one of the biggest projects planned by TRS as part of its vision ‘golden Telangana’.
The project will submerge 14 villages in Medak, the native district of the chief minister. The villagers are up in arms over what they call meagre compensation being offered under GO 123.
They are insisting on compensation under Land Acquisition Act but it is still not clear if the government will agree with farmers over the land value.
The row over land acquisition is the first major public protest being faced by KCR, who completed two years in office early this month.