People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 43

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 would be submerged under water once the project is completed. So far, compensation has been paid in the mandals of V R Puram, Chintur, Kunavaram, Velerupadu and Kukkunur. In the Bhadrachalam division, compensation has been paid for about ten thousand acres of land till date. Of it, seven thousand acres belong to the big landlords. Most of this land is under tenancy farming. And most of these tenants are poor tribals. The landlords cornered all the compensation paid by the government, besides the rent paid by the tenants. A meeting regarding such lands, for which compensation was paid, was held in this backdrop at Rekhapalli village of V R Puram mandal on September 25 under the leadership of the Girijana Sangham.  A large number of landless tribals participated in this meeting and decided to launch a struggle on this issue. They also concluded that the land belonging to the non-tribes (who possessed above five acres of land) for which the compensation was paid, should now belong to the tribals and a direct struggle should be launched to takeover the lands of the non-resident and non-tribe landlords who received the compensation from the government. The landless tribals are not given any compensation. They have also not got any compensation even if they have land, on the pretext that their land was not registered in the records.  It means that the tribals are the losers both ways. So, the meeting decided to bring to the notice of the public at large and the political parties, this serious problem facing the poor tribals. They also decided not to make an issue of the dwellings of the non-tribes as well as their abodes. Midiam Baburao, state general secretary of the Girijana Sangham participated in the meeting. The CPI(M) announced its support to this movement of the tribals.


After the Rekhapalli meeting, 44 acres belonging to Chadalavada Satyannarayana, 55 acres belonging to R V Rama Rao, 106 acres belonging to Satya Ganga Varaprasad Rao  (all of them are non-locals and have received compensation for the said lands) which are in the Godavari basin of Sabari Kothagudem (Kunavaram Mandal) are being cultivated by 227 tribals since the last twenty days. In another instance at Sabari Rai gudem and four other villages of V R Puram mandal, 105 acres of land belonging to a landlord residing at Hyderabad was taken over and distributed amongst themselves by the landless tribals. This landlord received a compensation of about one crore rupees for the said land. Along with these, the tribals took over another 300 acres of land, which is being cultivated as a collective.


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.