Fearing Flooding, Telangana Farmers Demand Reduced Capacity of Baswapur Dam

Reported by

Shivam MoghaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 24, 2021

Location of Conflict

Baswapur, Bhongir Mandal

,

Nalgonda

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Irrigation Dam

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

648

ha

State

Telangana

Sector

Infrastructure

On December 28, 2018, residents of Baswapur village in Nalgonda district, along with Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy, staged a daylong protest in front of the Yadadri Bhongir District Collectorate demanding compensation for their land that was acquired by the state government for the construction of the Baswapur reservoir. The reservoir has a capacity of 11.39 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft). It is estimated to submerge more than 3,400 acres of land, of which 1,600 acres belong to farmers. The reservoir was proposed in 2016 as part of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, formerly known as the B.R. Ambedkar PranahitaChevella Sujala Sravanthi project. The capacity of the plant under the PranahitaChevella project was initially proposed at 0.8 tmcft. But it was gradually increased first to 8 tmcft, then to 10 tmcft and finally to 12 tmcft. However, in August 2016, anticipating strong retaliation by farmers, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao ordered officials to reduce the capacity to 11.39 tmcft to prevent flooding of the villages.
Yet, the farmers continued to fear that the increase in the storage capacity will lead to the acquisition of more land, resulting in further displacement. The state government acquired the lands in early 2018 and completed documentation midyear. But the acquisition was not followed by compensation. In May 2019, when mutiple cases regarding unpaid compensation flooded in, the Telangana High Court refused to halt work, stating that somebody had to sacrifice for the greater good. However, in October 2020, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled the environmental clearance given to the project as void because the Telangana government had made several design changes to increase capacity after obtaining the clearance. NGT did not accept the Telangana government's arguments about the changes not involving infrastructural alterations and ordered the stoppage of all work for six months. The project now awaits an expert committee's evaluation of the potential damages that could result from the expansion. The displaced remain uncompensated.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

1600.98

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

648

ha

Starting Year

2016

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for promised compensation

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Irrigation & CAD Department of Telangana

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Ltd. (MEIL)

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Congress Party, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Resources Related to Conflict

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