D. Chandra Bhaskar Rao

Implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement package for Polavaram

It is the lure of money for the poor tribalsBesides, there are many other goodies tooOfficials and party cadre reach out to the tribals

VELERPADU (KHAMMAM DT): The Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy for winning over the confidence of people facing the risk of displacement by the Polavaram project. The implementation of the rehabilitation and resettlement package mainly depends on the acceptance of the tribals and their representatives in sub-plan area of Khammam .

Both the official machinery and functionaries of the ruling Congress party are reaching out to them by explaining the benefits of the project. All these years, the tribal communities could live on the banks of the Godavari enjoying total food security, thanks to the laws, which prohibited transfer of tribal lands to non-tribals. However, once they are rehabilitated in the plains, their status would not be the same.

They fear that they would cease to enjoy their customary right on the forest produce. It has been the main dilemma before the tribes. It is for them to chose between what they are today and life they would never have dreamt of. The monetary benefits promised by the administration had a luring effect.

A majority of the non-tribal farmers, who could not sell their lands because of the scheduled area regulations so far, were ready to give their lands for the rehabilitation of the tribes. Their cashew and oil palm gardens, mango groves will be acquired by the administration for compensating the tribal under the land for land scheme.

Besides, it is lure of money for the poor tribals. The revenue department has promised Rs. 40,000 each for agriculture labourers, Rs. 25,000 each for rural artisans besides additional benefit of Rs. 15,360 for the project affected or displaced families, Rs. 3,000 for their cattle shed, Rs. 5,000 for transportation, Rs. 32,000 for loss of the customary right of the forest produce, five cents of house site and house with 279.5 SF plinth area .

Ch. Vinay Mohan, Palvancha Revenue Divisional Officer, and Dharma Rao, Special Deputy Collector, said that 1,163 acres of land was identified for the rehabilitation programme in Dammapet mandal. Similarly, 930 acres of land was ready in Aswaraopet, 261 acres in Mulakalpalli, and 64 acres in Velairpadu mandal.

The administration had taken up construction of housing colonies for 122 project-affected families of Puchirala Colony at Ralapudi village of Velerpadu mandal. It also proposes to construct 293 houses at Maddikonda village in Aswaraopet mandal.

The oustees were extended the opportunity of seeing the site before giving their willingness.

In the meantime, Congress party leaders - B. Anan Raju is touring the affected villages as part of the party campaign. Younis Sultan and former party legislators have expressed their willingness to visit the villages hit by the project - along with the party cadre, to explain to the oustees the benefits of the project.