Annapurna Reservoir Submerges Homes, Families Forced To Relocate Without Compensation

Reported by

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

October 1, 2020

Location of Conflict

Kochaguttapalli

,

Siddipet

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Irrigation Dam

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

53

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

State

Telangana

Sector

Infrastructure

The Siddipet district administration in Telangana evicted at least six families on April 19, 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown as their homes fell in the submergence zone of the Annapurna Reservoir (formerly known as Ananthagiri reservoir). The eviction drive took place even as the land acquisition proceedings were stayed by the Telangana High Court. Annapurna Reservoir is a six-kilometre-long dam that is part of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, an ambitious programme of the state government to supply water from the Godavari river to the arid regions of Telangana. The dam has so far submerged 324 acres of forests and three villages in Ellanthakunta and Chinnakodur blocks in Siddipet district. In 2016, 154 families from Kochaguttapalli village had opposed the land acquisition for the reservoir as it was carried out under a state government order (known as G.O. 123) instead of the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (LARR) Act, 2013. In 2017, the Telangana high court struck down the GO, after which the state began to acquire land under the LARR Act. On April 9, 2019, the high court granted a stay on the land acquisition after a petition was filed by 11 families. They claim that after the preliminary notification of acquisition in 2017, the government did not make a declaration under Section 19 (1) of the LARR Act. As per Section 19 (7), if no declaration is made within 12 months, the preliminary notification would be deemed cancelled, unless the government issues an extension to the deadline. The 12-month deadline ended on December 27, 2018, and the government extended it by two months to February 28, 2019. The petitioners argued in the high court that an extension cannot be granted after the deadline. The court issued a stay order until something conclusive was decided on the matter. The stay order was in place when the evictions took place in April 2020. The families were not given prior notice and were not allowed to take cash, gold and other valuables with them, according to eyewitness accounts. They were forced to shift to the project rehabilitation and resettlement colony in another village. Three days later, their homes got submerged in the reservoir waters. Alkaturki Laxman, a resident who was evicted, told Article-14 that the demolitions took place without notice and that the officials did not pay heed to peoples demands to take their belongings. We were crying and pleading, but they didnt listen to us, Laxman said. On April 26, the state government told the high court that only six families were opposed to the acquisition and that 148 families had accepted compensation. But according to a news report, 30 families were evicted. The matter is pending before the high court.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1928

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

ha

Starting Year

2020

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

District Collector of Siddipet, Irrigation & Command Area Development Department

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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