Naya Qila farmers to protest at Hyderabad Collector’s office

Hyderabad: The Farmers Association of Naya Qila Golconda Fort will stage a protest at the Hyderabad Collector’s office in Chirag Ali lane today (Thursday) at 11 a.m.  According to the association, 52 acres of land was forcibly acquired from 54 farmers who were cultivating land at Naya Qila inside the fort area from generations. 

The association claims that the land of 54 acres was acquired by the erstwhile government of Andhra Pradesh to establish a bird sanctuary at Naya Qila, and also that a rightful compensation amount was also not settled with them by the then government.

In 2002, stated the association, the bird Sanctuary project was replaced by a golf course project. The acquired land from the farmers was transferred to the golf course, and they were allegedly not even informed of this subsequent transfer. Naya Qila is believed to be a natuaral sanctuary for  migratory birds, and that having a formal one run by the government, could also give locals and the city a fresh green space.

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“The farmers never accepted the compensation money for the land, which is lying in a court. The physical possession of the land was forcibly taken away from the farmers,” alleged Hari Babu, President of Secretary of Farmers Association of Naya Qila Golconda fort. He added that hundreds of farmers will be staging a protest at the district collector office urging the government to fulfill their demands.

“Farmers refuse to part with their land. The price is much below the marked price, and the alternative land offered is also not of equivalent quality. The authorities acceding to this view appointed a committee to look for alternative equivalent valuation land in Hyderabad District.

But the land to them offered was either scattered, or not fit for cultivation, or far away. Having failed to find a suitable alternative, the government unilaterally  negotiations and for an acquisition. The compensation money has not been accepted by farmers as well,” said Ilyas Khan, General Secretary of Farmers Association of Naya Qila Golconda fort.

Farmers say  that since 2013, the affected persons and their families have been relentlessly asking the  government to arrange alternate lands for them, but that the government has failed to provide it. They demanded that the government to immediately allot them land at Kankamadi village at the earliest.  

A few weeks ago, a huge portion of the historic Majnu Burj (bastion) in the Naya Qila area of the Golconda Fort came crashing down due to heavy rainfall that has been lashing Hyderabad over the last few days. The bastion was already in a vulnerable state since September, and wedge marks on the rock show some human intervention with regard to the collapse. 

While it is yet to be ascertained as to how a solid piece of rock came crashing down, activists suspect that some work had been taken up by the Hyderabad Golf Course Association (HGA), which runs a golf course in the historic Naya Qila area, and also the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), may have caused the damage. 

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