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
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
District Collector, Siddipet
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Land Acquisition Laws, Procedural Laws
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Name(s) of Court(s)
High Court for the State of Telangana
Nature of Protest
Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
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
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?