RRR project: Raigiri farmers, BRS govt at crossroads again over land acquisition

The locals are venting their frustration by blocking convoys of VIPs, and protesting by burning dried paddy stems leading to arrests

By Md Nizamuddin  Published on  6 Jun 2023 11:13 AM GMT
RRR project: Raigiri farmers, BRS govt at crossroads again over land acquisition.

Hyderabad: With close to 260 acres of land earmarked for a major development project—the Regional Ring Road (RRR)—the farmers in Raigiri village in Bhongir, where a major junction has been proposed, are opposing the implementation of the plan.

This will be the fourth time in recent years that the locals, fearing losing their properties to land acquisition, are protesting the authorities.

Land acquisition for authorities is no more a cakewalk. The past experiences of farmers and villagers in development projects prompted them to resist the latest move. Beginning with the development of National Highway 163, a decade ago, when 98 acres were acquired, followed by the major development of Yadagirigutta in 2017, where 12,220 acres of land were acquired, and for Baswapur reservoir development, as part of the Kaleshwaram project in 2016, the farmers of the village have taken a tough stance each time.

The locals are venting their frustration by blocking convoys of VIPs, and protesting by burning dried paddy stems leading to arrests. “We are not ready to lose our lands to any kind of project this time. We have already lost acres of land to earlier ones including the setting up of towers for high-tension power lines. I got arrested six times after we launched the agitation about 10 months ago. I am out on anticipatory bail now, while a few unlucky ones were sent to Nalgonda jail on serious charges. Each time KCR or KTR visit Yadadri our movement is restrained,” said Tangellapalli Ravikumar, who owns more than five acres in Raigiri.

According to the latest survey, of the 260 acres of land needed by the government, about 125 acres will go for the development of the junction coming up at the village, while the remaining is for connecting roads. If the Bhongir Assembly constituency is taken into consideration, a total of 750 acres will be part of land acquisition, out of which close to 450 acres are in Bhongir Mandal.

Meanwhile, rights groups have alleged that the current land acquisition is violating the norms. S Jeevan Kumar of Human Rights Forum has argued there was no need for a RRR, as existing the ORR (Outer Ring Road) is well connected with the districts.

“This project violates the norms, as it is coming within 30 km of the existing ORR. As per the norms, it should be more than 40 km away. This is nothing but to develop real-estate and political benefits,” he alleged.

Local MP, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy has also been vocal about the issue and earlier took up the matter with the chairman of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Santosh Kumar Yadav. During his meeting with the chairman a couple of months ago, he felt that there was a need for realignment of the RRR.

“There is a need for realignment of the RRR while avoiding private lands and considering government lands towards minimising the conflict with local farmers,” he said.

In the past, he had raised the issue in the Parliament as it was ‘affecting thousands of poor’. “This is reflected in the way locals are holding dharnas and protests while resisting the government’s move,” he explained to the chairman.

With the issue brewing, BJP leaders are also seriously taking note of the issue. Senior BJP leader Gudur Narayana Reddy extended his complete support to the agitating farmers. Senior Congress leader, V Hanumantha Rao was also seen making regular visits to the area.

On Tuesday, during his visit to Nalgonda jail, where some of the farmers are housed following their arrests, he demanded their immediate release. “They were arrested for burning dried paddy stems on the road during the visit of an MLA to the collectorate. Is BRS an anti-farmer government?” he asked.

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