Hyderabad: Farmers from two villages in Medak district have levelled allegations of land grabbing against Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender accusing him of forcibly taking over assigned lands.
Eight villagers from Achampet and Hakimpet under Masaipet mandal submitted a complaint to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao stating that the health minister and his followers had taken over their lands to start a poultry industry. They appealed to the Chief Minister to ensure that the lands assigned to them by the government be restored to them immediately.
Responding to their complaints, KCR has instructed chief secretary Somesh Kumar to launch an inquiry and asked him to prepare a comprehensive report and submit the same. The CM also instructed vigilance DGP Purnachandra Rao to find out the truth behind the allegations. KCR issued orders saying that the primary inquiry should be conducted immediately and reports submitted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Rajender on Friday said he is ready to resign if the allegations against him are proved and said he will not give in to any such false campaigns. "I know the history of everyone. You should question the persons who had once owned a scooter and now owns Rs. 100 crores," he added.
Accusing TV channels of running false stories, he said it was a character assassination and they were trying to poison the minds of the people of Telangana. He said that in case of such incidents, the victims should lodge a complaint and the media should investigate but here the media had resorted to mud-slinging and carried out its own justice.
Mr. Rajender said that in 2016, after his son returned after completing his education, he had convinced him to start Jamuna Hatcheries between Achampalli and Hakimpet villages. The hatchery was set up on 40 acres land purchased for Rs. 6 lakh per acre. He had purchased another seven acres to expand the poultry farm. He had obtained a loan from Canara Bank for the same, he explained.
"Poultry needs vast land. We wanted to expand further but there were only assigned lands nearby. I applied to the industries department asking for land," the minister said, adding the land was allotted in 1994 but never cultivated since it was not fit for farming.
"We requested the department to acquire the land and hand it over to me. I agreed to pay the land value. They advised me to do it personally and inform the government so that they will process it from their end," the minister added.
He said that 25 acres of land had been surrendered to the MRO and it was in their possession. He had purchased seven acres further away and constructed a feeding plant and staff quarters. "I request the media to do a field inspection. The landowners approached us to purchase the land but I refused stating the rules in place," the minister said.
He added that he had set up his first poultry farm in 1986 and had another farm in Vargal, Shila Sagar, and Rimmanaguda. "My 2004 election affidavit shows my assets," he said. He further clarified that in 2007 he had purchased 2,100 yards of land in Banjara Hills for Rs. 5 crore but due to disputes he had no ownership over the land.
He said that he welcomed an inquiry and demanded they look into his assets, too. "This position gave me respect, but this is not bigger than my self-respect. In my entire career, I did not exploit or harm anyone," the minister said, while warning "paid media channels" not to spread falsehood.