Dousing the hopes of oustees of the Polavaram project, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday made it clear that no fresh compensation would be given to them for the 32,532 acres taken from them prior to bifurcation of the state. And then, he disclosed more bad news for the tribal people of four mandals that were handed to Andhra Pradesh from Telangana: another 18,565 acres would be acquired for the project.
The sweetener, if that, for farmers here is that they will get a revised R&R (rehabilitation and resettlement) package for the new land to be acquired. Farmers whose lands were taken before bifurcation will not be entitled to it though. These four mandals -- Chintoor, Yetapaka, Kunavaram and VR Puram -- are among the seven that were transferred from Telangana to AP at the time of bifurcation in 2014. Many villages in these mandals face land acquisition for Polavaram and were in fact transferred to Andhra expressly to minimize administrative difficulties for the project.
This was Naidu's first visit to these mandals since becoming Chief Minister of the truncated state of AP in 2014. The occasion was the inauguration of the new headquarters of the Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) zone here. While not disclosing details of the R&R package to be extended to the new oustees, Naidu tried to smother the impact of the fresh bout of land acquisition.
Addressing a public meeting at the Andhra Pradesh Residential College in Chintoor, Naidu announced a 50-bed hospital in Chintoor and a 30-bed hospital at Kunavaram shortly. Other sops were laid on thick: 9,000 social welfare pensions, a Central Kitchen System worth `4.5 crore to provide nutritious food to tribal school children, clearance of pending bills worth `3.74 crore under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and a sanction of `9 crore to reinstate old and ruined lift irrigation schemes for cultivation of more than 7,000 acre here. Since Polavaram project was on his mind, the much of the chief minister's labours were aimed at selling the dream to the people here.
The people here face several other niggles as a result of the proceeds of bifurcation, and upon them there was no clarity. The children here face difficulties in asserting their local status in the new state, their old health cards are not valid and securing new ones is bound up in red tape