The land survey for the proposed Khammam-Devarapalli four-lane greenfield highway project is progressing at a brisk pace in Kallur division and parts of Khammam division with the executing agencies expediting the process of laying alignment stones in Vemsoor, Thallada, Penuballi and Kallur mandals.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has proposed to construct the four-lane access controlled greenfield highway of a length of little over 162 km connecting Khammam, the historic fort town of Telangana with Andhra Pradesh’s Devarapalli at an estimated cost of ₹4,609 crore.
The project was approved under the centrally-sponsored Bharatmala Pariyojana’s economic corridor development initiative more than one-and-a-half years ago.
The project involves acquisition of about 1,996 acres of agricultural lands spread in 31 villages of ten mandals of the district. The proposed greenfield express highway is likely to extend a distance of 96 km in Khammam district.
The move to acquire the large tracts of agricultural lands for the project evoked widespread protests from aggrieved farmers in several mandals, including Chintakani and Vemsoor in 2019.
Various farmers’ bodies such as the Telangana Rythu Sangham spearheaded a joint agitation demanding shelving of the greenfield project last year.
Many aggrieved farmers registered their objections with the authorities expressing their serious concern over the potential risk of losing their livelihoods if their fertile lands, spanning across well-irrigated areas, were acquired for the project.
After a gap of several months, the executing agencies of the project have embarked on the land survey in Kallur division over a week ago. Joint Collector Madhusudhan Rao held a meeting with the farmers at the RDO's office in Kallur on Saturday. The revenue authorities initiated an exercise to clear the doubts of the farmers and dispose off their objections, if any, over the project, sources in the Revenue Department said.
Instead of widening the existing Khammam-Devarapalli highway, the greenfield project is proposed in an arbitrary manner, deplored Telangana Rythu Sangham district president B Rambabu.
The new project entails enormous loss of productive agricultural lands and livelihoods of scores of farmers in ten mandals of the district known for their immense agricultural potential, he noted.
The government should ensure provision of adequate compensation to the farmers as per the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, at least three times more than the market price of their lands, he demanded.