Andhra Pradesh

Polavaram: issue of R&R package to the fore again

The size of houses is less than the wash rooms in government bungalows, says former MLA Sunnam Rajaiah.

The size of houses is less than the wash rooms in government bungalows, says former MLA Sunnam Rajaiah.   | Photo Credit: arranged

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‘Tardy progress in construction of houses for evacuees’

With the State government announcing December 2019 as the fresh deadline for completing the Polavaram irrigation project, the issue of relief and rehabilitation has come to the fore once again, particularly when construction of houses for the evacuees is progressing at a snail’s pace.

In all, the project would displace 45,000 families residing in 271 villages and about 400 tribal hamlets in East and West Godavari districts.

Of the estimated project cost of ₹57,000 crore, a sum of ₹21,027 crore had been earmarked for relief and rehabilitation, including land acquisition, payment of ex gratia, and construction of housing colonies to the evacuees.

As the project works are in progress and construction of the diaphragm wall is nearing completion, not much is being done on the construction of houses for the evacuees.

“We have been insisting from the beginning that the Polavaram works should be commenced only after completing the implementation of the R&R package. Now, some of the evacuees have been displaced and many others are living in pathetic conditions as the developmental works have been suspended in the villages marked as submerged areas,” points out Sunnam Rajaiah, former MLA of Bhadrachalam and one of the strong voices representing the evacuees.

Residents of eight villages have been evacuated from the current project site to the Polavaram village, whereas residents of 212 villages in West Godavari district are yet to be evacuated.

Sites have been identified at Buttayagudem and Jeelugumilli to build housing colonies, and paucity of funds is said to be reason behind the delay in the progress of works. When it comes to East Godavari district, 6,187 families in 59 villages of three mandals need relocation. Of them, rehabilitation of 1,338 families has been completed.

‘No check on quality’

“The size of the houses is less than the washrooms in government bungalows. A check on quality of construction is bear minimal, and there is no one to listen to the tribal people,” Mr. Rajaiah observes. According Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner C. Rekha Rani, there is no dearth of funds for undertaking the rehabilitation works. “There won’t be any delay in releasing the budget, provided timely submission of bills is ensured,” she says.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:40:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-issue-of-rr-package-to-the-fore-again/article24248250.ece

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