Despite Telangana High Court’s stay order on the construction work for the Mallanasagar reservoir in four villages of Siddipet district until August 30, locals allege that the state government has been going ahead with the project, unperturbed by the judgement. The Mallanasagar reservoir is part of Telangana's flagship Kaleshwaram project, which aims to provide drinking water to every household in the state.
Locals, who are armed with the order, point out that the court had stayed work in Ettigada Kistapur, Pallepahad, Vemulaghat and Thoguta in Thoguta mandal on August 23 while hearing a contempt of court petition that they had filed.
However, they say that authorities on the ground continued their work. The locals said that when they confronted them, the officials claimed that they were yet to receive the court's orders.
A senior official from the Mandal Revenue Office of Thoguta reiterated to TNM that as of Sunday morning, they were yet to receive the orders. "If we receive any communication from the court, we will immediately stop the work, but we are yet to receive it. We do not know the reason for the delay," he said.
Speaking to TNM, Hayatuddin, a local from Vemulaghat, said, “Who is responsible for ensuring that the court orders reach the local contractor? Isn't it the state government? The authorities concerned were present when the court order was issued from the state's lawyers to officials of the Revenue and Irrigation department. Even the media reported it extensively. Isn't this negligence on the part of authorities then? Not one person is willing to give it to us in writing that they didn't get the court orders.”
Just earlier this week, the High Court had sentenced two government officials to imprisonment for two months and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 each for contempt of its past orders, pertaining to the rehabilitation and resettlement of those displaced by the Mallanasagar irrigation project.
The petitioners had alleged that their lands were acquired in violation of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. They claimed that they were given only partial rehabilitation and didn’t receive the full amount, which they were entitled to under the Act.
After pronouncing its judgement, the court gave the state government six weeks to file an appeal in the case and stayed the sentence till then.
The court had earlier ordered the officials concerned not to start work on the project on the land under contention until all claims of relief and rehabilitation made by the farmers were settled by the state government.
The Mallanasagar reservoir initially faced resistance from several villages, stating it would get submerged, and because locals did not want to give up their land. The protests have now been diluted to a few villages in Thoguta mandal, especially Vemulaghat.