The Mallana Sagar Reservoir project, which was facing opposition from farmers from the Gajwel mandal since April, is set to move forward after farmers arrived at an agreement with the government on compensation for lands acquired.
The reservoir is being built to supply water to upland areas in Nizamabad, Medak, Rangareddy and Nalgonda districts. The Telangana government, which sees the reservoir as a prestigious project, had promised to complete its construction within the next two years.
However, in April 2016, after inspections of the area by government officials began, farmers from Donkal, Kishtapur, Kupriyal, Eragatlla and Ramannapet learnt that their lands and houses would get affected if the reservoir gets constructed. Soon there were protests and dharnas staged by the villagers, which received support from the opposition parties.
The construction of the reservoir will result in 14 villages being submerged, and six other villages losing their agriculture land. The protests reached a fever pitch when Nayini Karunakar, a 29-year-old farmer, committed suicide out of fear that his family’s agricultural land would be lost.
When protests intensified, the government agreed to sit down for negotiations with the local farmers. The government had proposed compensation at the rate of Rs 5.85 lakh per acre. After a month of negotiations, an agreement was reportedly clinched in a meeting held by Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao, on Tuesday, with farmers settling for compensation rates of Rs 6 lakh per acre.
Talking to TNM, Puli Raju, State General Secretary for Telangana Raitu Samrakshana Samithi said, “Our demands have been partially fulfilled. We expected a compensation of Rs 8-10 lakh, but in the meeting we agreed on Rs 6 lakh per acre. Now the issue has been resolved.”
In addition, the government agreed to construct houses under its 2 BHK scheme for all villagers currently owning a house. The government also agreed to provide compensation to the tune of Rs 2 lakh for landless villagers through different government schemes, added Puli Raju.