Vemulaghat marks 600 days of fast

Damodar Raja Narasimha, CPI(M) leaders express solidarity with the villagers

January 25, 2018 11:33 pm | Updated 11:33 pm IST - VEMULAGHAT (SIDDIPET DISTRICT)

The relay fast by the villagers of Vemulaghat demanding implementation of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act – 2013 (LA Act -2013) completed 600 days on Thursday.

The day, however, was uneventful despite marking a milestone in the persistence of the villagers. A few district leaders of the CPI (M) came to the venue and expressed their solidarity with the fasting villagers.

Another noteworthy visitor was former Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader C. Damodar Raja Narasimha who promised to stand by them till they get justice.

Negotiate with farmers

“The government cannot act as it wishes. It has to follow the LA Act – 2013 while paying compensation to land oustees of Mallannasagar, which is also the demand of Vemulaghat villagers. More than 100 cases were filed by farmers of different villages against the injustice done to them. Even the courts have found fault with the government,” said Mr. Damodar, wondering why the government is not coming forward to hold discussions with the villagers of Vemulaghat. “We (the Congress government) had also constructed irrigation projects, but never were so many cases filed in the past,” he pointed out. He said that farmers of neighbouring villages, who also surrendered lands to the government, had started developing cold feet as the promises were not yet fulfilled.

“The Kaleswaram project will be a drain on the exchequer and will not fit in the cost-benefit ratio. The government has to spend as much as ₹ 1.6 lakh per acre every year,” he said. In a related development, the villagers of neighbouring Etigaddaskishtapur in Toguta mandal have been visiting Vemulaghat and seeking guidance from the villagers in their proposed fight against the government. Former MLA Ch. Muthyam Reddy and others attended.

Panchayat resolution

Gram panchayat of Erravalli village in Kondapaka mandal, led by TRS sarpanch Utkuri Narasimha Reddy, passed a resolution on Wednesday, not to allow Mallannasagar work to be taken up till the district administration fulfilled promises of rehabilitation.

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