The court had asked officials not to carry out work on the land of the petitioners until the government settles the relief and rehabilitation claims.

Mallanasagar project Telangana HC finds 2 revenue officials guilty of contempt of court
news Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 18:16

In yet another case pertaining to the rehabilitation and resettlement of those displaced by the Mallanasagar irrigation project, the Telangana High Court sentenced two government officials to simple imprisonment for two months and a fine of Rs 2,000 each for contempt of its past orders. 

The court found that Gajwel Revenue Division Officer Vijayayendra Reddy and Kondapaka Tehisildar Prabhu had violated its orders. 

The court was hearing a petition filed in October 2018 by three farmers from the Tippapur in Siddipet district. The farmers alleged that their lands were acquired in violation of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. They claimed that they were only partial rehabilitated and didn’t receive the full amount. As per the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, the state must provide relief and rehabilitation which includes money, and a house in exchange for a house. 

The three farmers held 17.30 acres, for which they demanded Rs 1,15,000 per acre, similar to the compensation doled out by the government to some farmers in Vemulaghat village, which is also affected by the project.

The court earlier ordered the concerned officials not to start work on the project on the land under question until the government settles the relief and rehabilitation claims of the farmers. 

The Mallannasagar reservoir is part of Telangana's flagship Kaleshwaram project, which aims to provide drinking water to each household in the state.

However, as officials carried out work on the lands under question without adequate settlement, the petitioners approached the court. On Tuesday, Justice MS Ramachandra Rao of the Telangana High Court took a serious view of the violation of its orders. 

The petitioner's counsel had argued that the violation of the court order was done deliberately without adequately rehabilitating them as directed by the court.

Speaking to TNM, Chethireddy Narayana Reddy, one of the petitioners, said that their lands were forcefully taken away by 'unfair means', despite the court’s orders. “When we refused to give up the land as the government was not fulfilling our claims, the High Court also ordered the government officials not to take our lands until out claims are settled, but they uprooted our crops before dawn," he said.

The petitioners have expressed hope that the government will look into their rehabilitation and resettlement claims. 

The court has given the government six weeks to file an appeal in the case, and stayed the sentence till then. 

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