A delegation of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) called on Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan on Monday and submitted a memorandum against the forcible land acquisition for various projects by TRS Government in the State.
“TRS Government is destroying the livelihood of farmers, land tenants, agriculture labor, artisans etc., and suppressing their fundamental rights. The State Government, which is supposed to be the custodian of the Indian constitution, has unfortunately become the violator of the Constitution and thereby the farmers, land tenants, agriculture labor and artisans have become most helpless and vulnerable. And their very survival is endangered,” said TPCC President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy in his petition to the Governor.
The TPCC chief said that the State Government was acquiring lakhs of acres of land in the name of different development project while displacing lakhs of lakhs of farmers, land tenants, agriculture labour, artisans and several other dependents on the village economy. A sizeable population belongs to SC and ST communities. “While development is necessary, it is the fundamental responsibility of the government to protect the basic rights of people who are affected due to these projects. It is mandatory on the part of the Government of Telangana to administer the Resettlement and Rehabilitation program by implementing RTFCATLARR Act -2013, protecting their basic rights and livelihood,” he said while alleging that the State Government has arbitrarily brought in GO MS.123 and is scuttling their statutory rights and destroying their livelihoods.
Uttam Kumar Reddy disputed the claims of TRS Government that GO MS 123 was only to enable the “willing sale by farmers and procurement by government”. He alleged that the government was literally bulldozing and blackmailing the farmers to sell their lands. “The Government has become a land dealer or broker in the name of GO MS 123. It maliciously came up with GO MS 214 and deliberately removed the provisions of R&R from the original GO MS 123. This is a clear reflection of the cruelty of the ruling government towards farmers,” he said.
The TPCC President said that the present form of GO MS 123 does not cater to provide any social security and facilitate resettlement and rehabilitation to the project-affected population. He said that the government was pressurizing the farmers to sell their lands and using most coercive and unconstitutional methods using local police and revenue officials. In the villages that are likely to be submerged under proposed Mallanna Sagar project, the State Government has unleashed the unlawful terror deploying the police forces in the project-affected villages and threatening the villagers to give away their lands to government.
Uttam Kumar Reddy also reminded that affected farmers were brutally lathicharged when they held a protest on July 24. As many 163 farmers, including women, were injured in the incident. No action was taken against DSP Sridhar Goud, who ordered illegal firing and lathi-charge against the farmers. The same DSP was spared although one Sub-Inspector Ramakrishna Reddy, in his suicide note, held him responsible for his death.
Condemning imposition of Section 144 in those villages, the TPCC President accused TRS Government of creating ‘Kashmir like situation’ to terrorise the villagers by doing flag-marches by fully armed policemen. He said even the orders of High Court were being violated without any fear. “This is a clear-cut case of abuse of power by the Government of Telangana,” he said.
Listing out several provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 2013, which are being violated by the TRS Government, Uttam Kumar Reddy sought the Governor’s intervention to protect the basic rights of affected population. “We request the Honorable Governor to direct the Government of Telangana to ensure that RTFCATLARR-2013 Act is implemented so that land owners, Tenants, landless laborers get the R&R and social security benefits appropriately,” he urged the Governor.
Uttam Kumar Reddy also appealed to the Governor to direct the State Government to immediately lift the Section 144 in the project affected villages and withdraw false cases against the villagers.
Speaking to media persons later, the TPCC President said that the Governor has assured to seek explanation from the State Government and the DGP on the issues raised by the Congress party.
The TPCC delegation comprised of Leader of Opposition in Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir, ex-PCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Ex-Dy CM Damodar Rajanarasimha, MLA T. Jeevan Reddy, former minister Sunitha Lakshma Reddy, TPCC Vice-President Mallu Ravi and other senior leaders.(NSS)