Siddipet District Authorities in Telangana Evict 26 Families During Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown

Reported by

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

October 26, 2020

Location of Conflict

Mamidyal

,

Siddipet

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Irrigation Dam

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

125

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

State

Telangana

Sector

Infrastructure

On April 30, 2020, during the lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, at least 26 families were forcefully evicted from their homes by the district administration of Siddipet. The authorities arrived with around 500 policemen without any prior warning. The people did not get the time to gather their belongings and were hushed away in trucks to nearby Gajwel town for temporary accommodation. The families, who are rightful owners of their land, were living in the submergence area of the Kondapochamma reservoir, a dam that is part of the states massive INR 80,000-crore Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project. The project is part of an ambitious programme of the Telangana government to irrigate the entire drought-prone state with water from the Godavari river. The programme was launched in 2016, two years after the formation of the state. The evicted families had earlier challenged their land acquisition in Telangana High Court on the grounds of inadequate rehabilitation. They were offered land to build houses, but the people complained that the land was prone to flooding. On April 27, 2020, the High Court had asked the district collector to look into these concerns and granted time till May 1 to shift the people comfortably to at least two rehabilitation sites. Some of the houses in these sites were still under construction, and the government had arranged for temporary accommodation. However, the district collector and the revenue divisional officer did not discuss the issue as directed. In a rush to inaugurate the project, they evicted the families before the land acquisition could be completed, putting them in tin-roofed shanties. The High Court heard the matter on May 1. The state government declined to confirm the sequence of events narrated by the people. The court then ordered an Additional District Judge to conduct an inquiry, including taking photographs and recording statements of the witnesses under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The court also ordered the district collector to shift the people to temporary rehabilitation flats in Gajwel, to allow them to gather any belongings left behind in their old houses and to supply essential commodities and ration to them. The people said that the temporary rehabilitation flats are too far away from the permanent rehabilitation site, where they need to visit regularly to supervise the construction of their houses. They demanded temporary rehabilitation in a new location that is more convenient to commute to. On May 7, the High Court asked the state if it can provide transport services to the permanent rehabilitation site and if that would be an acceptable solution to the people. The case is being heard. Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao inaugurated the reservoir project on May 29.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

ha

Starting Year

2020

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

District Collector, Siddipet

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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