(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 24, 2010
Struggle Launched on
Polavaram Compensated Lands
THE tribals of the Khammam district agency of Andhra Pradesh have launched a land struggle on the lands, for which the government has paid compensation as these lands would get submerged once the Polavaram project is completed. This project would submerge more than one lakh acres of land and displace about two lakh people. As of now, one thousand acres of land is under the control of the poor tribals. Once an owner gets the compensation, he would not have any right over that land. The ownership gets transferred to the government. On such a land, only tribals will have the rights under the 1/70 Act, which deals with the Fifth Schedule Area.
It was officially
declared that the lands in the seven mandals of the Khammam district
submerged under water once the project is completed. So far,
been paid in the mandals of V R Puram, Chintur, Kunavaram, Velerupadu
Kukkunur. In the Bhadrachalam division, compensation has been paid for
thousand acres of land till date. Of it, seven thousand acres belong to
landlords. Most of this land is under tenancy farming. And most of
tenants are poor tribals. The landlords cornered all the compensation
the government, besides the rent paid by the tenants. A meeting
lands, for which compensation was paid, was held in this backdrop at
Rekhapalli meeting, 44 acres belonging to Chadalavada Satyannarayana,
belonging to R V Rama Rao, 106 acres belonging to Satya Ganga
Rao (all of them are non-locals and have
received compensation for the said lands) which are in the Godavari
Sabari Kothagudem (Kunavaram Mandal) are being cultivated by 227
the last twenty days. In another instance at Sabari Rai gudem and four
villages of V R Puram mandal, 105 acres of land belonging to a landlord
Madireddy Dayananda Saraswathi brothers of V R Puram got a compensation of about one crore rupees for the hundred acres of land that is under their possession. They are receiving a rent of five lakh rupees from their tenants per year. The tenant farmers also include poor tribals. With the launching of the land struggle by the Girijana Sangham, Dayananda Saraswathi brothers accepted to surrender the land to the tribals. Some other landlords also followed suit.
The officials under pressure from the ruling party are practicing discrimination in the payment of compensation to the tribals. For instance, in the Kunavaram mandal’s block-2, 154 displaced were identified, and amongst them there were 70 poor tribals. Of these 70, only four got the compensation, where as all the non-tribe influential people received the compensation amount. The pretext given by the officials for the non-payment of the amount to the rest of the tribals is that - ‘the amount received from the government has been exhausted, so wait till the next round.’ This all happened around a year back, and still these helpless tribals are waiting in vain for the compensation that the government owes to them, where as on the other hand, the influential people who received the compensation, are still giving their land for tenancy to the tribals and are duly collecting the rent for the same. The Girijana Sangham, which is opposing this, has called upon the tribals not to pay the rent for such lands and stood by the tribals.
The MLA from the Bhadrachalam constituency belonging to the Congress party (defected from the CPI(M) in 2008) is backing up and supporting the vested interests of the non-tribe landlords, and is trying to mobilise some farmers against the tribals. She is also bringing about a lot of pressure on the officials, in order to vacate the poor from the occupied lands. But, her attempts are turning out to be futile.
The tribals have got a right to cultivate the government land in the agency area under 1/70 act and the land once it is compensated for, would be considered as the land in the possession of the government. The tribal poor have expressed their desperate need of the land for sustenance, their determination to fight with perseverance for their rights and a confidence that the Girijana Sangham would herald their rights on the land.