A young boy in Andhra Pradesh was injured in the head when the bricks of a neighbouring building came crashing down, as it was being demolished by revenue officials. The accident happened in Anantapur district on Friday afternoon. The immediate aftermath of the incident was caught on camera. The child’s family was seen wailing as they retrieved him from the site of the accident and found him bleeding from the head. The boy appeared to be in a state of shock, and neighbours and police officers were seen panicking before rushing the child to a hospital.
The demolitions were being done as part of evacuation for the Chitravathi Balancing Reservoir (CBR) project. Marrimakulapalli village, where the accident happened, is one of the villages which will be inundated because of the project. According to a few reports, local residents had been resisting the demolitions, demanding better compensation packages, when the revenue officials went ahead with the demolitions in spite of their opposition.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) General Secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh, who is also the son of former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, shared a video from the incident on Twitter. He wrote that the injured child is a three-year-old, whose house was demolished even as his family was still inside.
“Drunk on power, YCP rulers don’t even care for people’s lives. In Anantapur district, Tadimarri mandal, Marrimakulapalli village, which is in the inundation area of the Chitravathi Balancing Reservoir project, a house was demolished with a JCB even as the family was still inside the house. This is a monstrosity,” Lokesh wrote.
అధికార మదం కళ్ళకెక్కిన వైసీపీ పాలకులకు ప్రజల ప్రాణాలంటే లెక్కలేకుండా పోయింది. అనంతపురం జిల్లా, తాడిమర్రి మండలంలోని చిత్రావతి బ్యాలెన్సింగ్ రిజర్వాయర్ ముంపు గ్రామమైన మర్రిమేకులపల్లిలో ఓ ఇంట్లో కుటుంబ సభ్యులు ఉండగానే జేసీబీతో ఇల్లు పడగొట్టిన రాక్షసత్వం ఇది.(1/2) pic.twitter.com/HhZICqABAt— Lokesh Nara #StayHomeSaveLives (@naralokesh) October 30, 2020
He also demanded that the demolitions must be stopped immediately.
While The Hindu reported that the boy is five years old, Tadimarri Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) Venkateswarlu claimed that the boy, Nagashourya, is seven. Speaking to TNM, the MRO said that the boy, who has been admitted to the RDT hospital in Bathalapalli, is out of danger and will be discharged in a couple of days once the stitches from the injury are removed.
Speaking about the compensation demands and opposition to evacuation, MRO Venkateswarlu claimed that the compensation amount has already been disbursed. “Compensation has been deposited to all 529 PDFs (project displaced families). They had demanded Rs 10 lakh as a one-time settlement, which was sanctioned by the District Collector. The government funds came and we disbursed the amount.”
The MRO said that the affected families had agreed to vacate their houses within ten days after receiving the compensation. “The compensation was deposited on October 7. It has been more than 20 days. But we haven’t been forcing them to vacate. Whoever had vacated already, only those houses are being demolished,” the MRO claimed.
On Friday, a vacated house adjacent to the boy’s house was being demolished, when a few cement bricks from the vacant house fell on the other side and injured the child, Venkateswarlu said. “A few bricks broke and fell on the boy. If the broken parts were heavier, there might have been a bigger danger. But he is out of danger now,” the MRO said.
The Chitravathi Balancing Reservoir (CBR) is meant for improving access to water for drinking and irrigation purposes in the Rayalaseema region. Marrimakulapalli is reportedly one of the four villages which could be inundated because of the project, and the compensation for displaced families was recently released by the state government.