Submergence without rehabilitation in Andhra’s Gandikota Reservoir is illegal: NAPM

Activists petition NHRC: Demand compliance with Land Acquisition and R&R Act, 2013

On behalf of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), movement leaders and activists from Andhra Pradesh and across India,have written to National Human Rights Commission today against the submergence of Six villages in Kondapur Mandal of YSR Kadapa District of Andhra Pradesh by waters of Gandikota Reservoir, without due process of law and rehabilitation as per the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and A.P. Rehabilitation Policy, 2005.

It may be noted that the Chief Minister Mr. N. Chandra Babu Naidu is slated to formally inaugurate and dedicate the Gandikota Project to the nation tomorrow. It is in this context the struggle of thousands of people being displaced by the Project becomes quite significant. While the Govt. itself claims that more than 9,000 families would be affected, the actual numbers are likely to be much more. The Government also claims that 5700 families are yet to avail the benefits. The Government records claim that 3300 families have availed partial or full benefits. However, most of these people claim they are yet to receive the compensation. Notably, there are serious flaws in the land acquisition and rehabilitation is far from satisfactory. Over the past more than two weeks hundreds of elderly people, women, men and children have been peacefully protesting on the streets and in the villages raising these violations.

Taking note of the serious situation, eminent citizens and activists wrote to the NHRC today with the following demands. The signatories include Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Gabriele Dietrich, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sunilam, Binayak Sen and Sandeep Pandey, as well as Jayasree Kaukumani, S. Jeevan Kumar, P.Chennaiah, B. Ramakrishnam Raju, Meera Sanghamitra, Vimala Morthala, Kirankumar Vissa, Rahul Maganiti and others from A.P and Telangana. The full petition is attached.

The petition urges the NHRC and the State Human Rights Commission to visit the affected areas to obtain first hand information of the serious issues of gross human rights violations to enable quick and appropriate action as per law. The petition also seeks the following key directions to the Andhra Pradesh Government:

  1. Water has been released into the villages without prior announcements. This shows the utter lack of humanity on the part of the Government. Any further release of water and inundation of villages shall be stopped forthwith, as submergence of villages and forceful displacement of the people without providing lawful rehabilitation and effective and alternative arrangements for their basic necessities like shelter, water, food and basic services like education, health, sanitation etc., is gross violation of their human rights, apart from their fundamental rights guaranteed under Constitution and orders of the Supreme Court.
  2. Make an immediate village-wise fair assessment of the previous land acquisition process in the light of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, since, as per our information, the possession of the lands/houses have not been taken till date and rehabilitation and resettlement of most of the project affected families is not completed in all its respects, though lands / house were acquired several years ago. In all cases where the erstwhile land acquisition has lapsed as per 2013 Act, State must recognize the ownership rights of the people. Thereafter, if the State requires these properties for the Gandikota Reservoir, the same must be acquired only by freshly initiating the whole land acquisition processand ensuring  disbursement ofcompensation and rehabilitation of theproject affected and displaced families as per the 2013 Act Acting contra will be violation of the said Act 30 of 2013.
  3. Two acres of promised land to all the Project Displaced Families (PDFs) should be distributed immediately within a specified time frame, as all the PDFs are dependent upon agriculture and allied activities. Government should also take steps to provide alternative employment / livelihood opportunities near R&R colonies. The Government should also provide loans for people dependent on cattle rearing and dairy industry. The Govt. of AP must fully comply with all the provisions of the LAQ and R&R Act, 2013, AP R&R Policy, 2005 and subsequent directives to ensure proper rehabilitation.
  4. The villagers of Chowtupalli were promised a special package of 1 lakh rupees in September 2015. The latest GO brought out on the 4thof January cancels this out on dubious conditions, as the people of Chowtupalli were at the forefront of the struggle. Government should take back this particular part of the GO and conform to all the promises made to the people earlier. We are also of the opinion that the very reason for announcement of this package, is an official acknowledgement of their rights per the 2013 Act. But the compensation of Rs. 1 lakh is not only meager, it is also an attempt to scuttle the recognition and implementation of the rights as per 2013 Act.Provide immediate interim relief and compensation to all families whose properties have been submerged / affected in violation of the 2013 Act and AP R&R Policy.Refrain from using any kind of coercive, intimidatory and misleading methods to evict/submerge or acquire lands and houses or threaten people to relocate, without ensuing full compliance of law.Initiate necessary steps as per the mandate of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, including constitution and operationalization of District Disaster Management Committee, dist. plans and necessary steps for rescue and relief

For more information: please contact:

Rahul Maganti:           9440382818               

Rohit Gutta:                9985250777

Meera Sanghamitra:   7337478993

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