525 families at Roshan-ud-Daula are miffed that the locality has not witnessed major developmental work or government has not relocated them since the DRDO claimed the nine-acre land where the colony now stands.

No development no votes Over 2100 Hyd residents to skip Telangana polls
news Elections Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 18:38

As a mark of protest, over 2,100 eligible voters from Roshan-ud-Daula colony at Hasthinapuram ward in Hyderabad will not be casting their votes in the upcoming Telangana state elections this year. The 525 families residing in the colony are miffed about the lack of initiative by the government to relocate the families after the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laid claim to the colony around 33 years ago. The residents have sworn not to visit the two polling booths on December 7.

Families have been residing at Roshan-ud-Daula from the early 1980s, but the locality has not witnessed major developmental work since the DRDO claimed the nine-acre land where the colony stands. Since then, there have been little or no developmental activities undertaken in this area. Most of the colony is now surrounded by the Defense Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) of the DRDO.

“We have decided not to cast our votes this state election, we will put up banners that tell the politicians that they are unwelcome,” said M Ravi, general secretary, Roshan-ud-Daula Residential Colony Welfare Association. “There are no proper roads, sewerage or even drinking water facility in this colony. The only primary school in the locality does not even have toilets for the children. People don’t want to start businesses here. We can't sell the land to someone else and move away as no one wants to buy the land earmarked for the DRDO,” he added.

In 2003, the residents received their first eviction notice from the erstwhile RangaReddy district administration. They faced eviction once again in 2005 and then again in 2008. The then state government of the united Andhra Pradesh even undertook surveys and assessed the number of houses that would have to be razed. The compensation amount pegged at Rs 14 crore was even deposited to the account of then RR collector but then the rehabilitation and compensation process froze for the next two years.

“They credited the compensation amount two years later. But by then, the people protested saying they need to be paid according to market rates,” said Ramavath Padma Naik, the corporator for Hasthinapuram.

After the new Land Acquisition Bill, 2013 came into effect, the corporator claims she did an independent calculation of how much the entire rehabilitation and compensation would cost the DRDO. “It would have cost them Rs 86 crore in 2016 for moving the residents to the state government’s two-bedroom housing project. We took our report to the acting Defense Minister Arun Jaitley in 2017 and then to present Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in Delhi, but there has been no progress despite their assurances,” he added.

Padma says she understood the anger of the voters after they boycotted the 2016 Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. “These residents will be removed today or tomorrow whenever the defence ministry wakes up to this issue, but as a corporator, I have to ensure that some work is done before I go seeking votes from them,” she said.

The corporator claims that she has undertaken Rs 84 lakh worth of sewerage pipeline work, but the project remains incomplete. She claims to have also made attempts to get drinking water supply for the residents and hopes to get the project started by November. “The delay from the DRDO’s end means we have to spend public money for the development of a colony that would sooner or later be razed to the ground,” she added.

On Sunday, members of the 525 families from the colony took a pledge to “not vote in the elections”.

“We are getting calls from political parties with promises that they would resolve the issue, but we know its all lies. We want the present government to ensure the rehabilitation process is completed. We are ready to move out from here,” said Ravi.

Despite repeated attempts, DRDO has not responded to questions on the issue yet.

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