It’s a paradox that people who are going to be directly affected by the proposed mega lift irrigation project, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Pranahita-Chevella Sujala Sravanthi, are the ones who are least or not at all informed about relevant developments.
A public hearing conducted in 2011 was the last step taken by the then government in united Andhra Pradesh to give some information to the people of Tummidi and Hetti villages on the banks of Pranahita river in Koutala mandal where the barrage of the project will be located.
The process towards construction of the barrage has moved a step ahead with the Maharashtra government agreeing to the proposed height of the barrage at full reservoir level of 152 ft and its location at the confluence point of Wardha and Wainganga rivers on the inter-State border between Adilabad and Maharashtra. “I only know that all the three acres of my land will be taken for the project,” says a visibly-upset Jhade Nanaji, a farmer from Hetti, when asked about the latest development.
“We were told that the government has offered Rs. 1.27 lakh per acre for our lands,” reveals Yelmule Shankar, another farmer from Hetti village, who was apparently ignorant of any further development in terms of land acquisition. “I am not sure what happens to my family if I lose my three acres to the project,” he says, looking crestfallen at the prospect.
“We will acquire only about 2,000 acres for the entire project, which is a minimum considering the size and expanse of the project,” assures Bellampalli Superintending Engineer S. Suneel.
“Much of this land is abutting the river banks,” he adds, as a measure of informing people.
Bathi Lasmaiah, a fisherman from Tummidi village, was not worried about losing land, but seemed upset at the prospect of losing his livelihood when the flow of water gets restricted once the proposed barrage comes up. “In fact, the livelihood of fishermen will improve once water is impounded at the barrage,” the SE points out.
“The fishermen will have all their entitlements or fishing rights intact. The community on both sides of the border will only prosper,” he elaborates.