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

Reported by

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 17, 2021

Location of Conflict

Mamidyal

Siddipet

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Irrigation Dam

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

125

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

823

ha

Starting Year

2020

State

Telangana

Sector

Infrastructure

On April 30, 2020, during the lockdown to contain the Covid19 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 80,000crore Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project. The project is part of an ambitious programme of the Telangana government to irrigate the entire droughtprone 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 the 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 23, 2020, the high court asked the district collector to look into these concerns and granted time till May 1 to shift the people 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 tinroofed shanties. The 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 dditional 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 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. However, on May 9, the houses were demolished and on May 29, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao inaugurated the reservoir project. On March 10, 2021, the high court sentenced Siddipet District Collector O. Venkatarami Reddy and Special Deputy Collector (land acquisition) Jayachandra Reddy to three and four months of imprisonment, respectively, along with fines to be paid to the court and costs to be paid to the petitioners, for failing to implement its previous orders.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation

Protection from forced eviction

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws, Procedural Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

    Section 151 [Inherent power of the high court to make such orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of the court]

  2. Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (Telangana Amendment Act, 2016)

    Section 16 [Preparation of rehabilitation and resettlement scheme by the administrator]; Section 17 [Review of the rehabilitation and resettlement scheme]; Section 18 [approved rehabilitation and resettlement scheme to be made public]; Section 23A [Award by collector without enquiry in case of agreement of interested persons]; Section 77 [Payment of compensation or deposit of same in authority]

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court for the State of Telangana

Case Number

WP 5415/2020

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement, Threats/intimidation

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

People were evicted from their homes by force and without an opportunity to shift on their own. The eviction took place during a pandemic when they were supposed to be home. They could not even carry their belongings. When they visited the Revenue Divisional Officer, he allegedly threatened them with police action for violating social distancing norms.

Date of Violation

April 30, 2020

Location of Violation

Mamidyal, Siddipet district

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District Collector, Siddipet

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

The government's responses are recorded in orders and news reports during the court hearing. As the matter is sub-judice, officials cannot be directly approached for comment.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Nihar Gokhale

Reviewed By

Nihar Gokhale

Updated By

Nihar Gokhale

Edited By

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch
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