HYDERABAD: Taking serious note of the non-payment of Rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R ) package to the families and victims, via-a-vis the land acquisition process conducted for Mallanna Sagar Project, the Telangana High Court on Friday sharply criticised the state government.
It warned the government that it should not blame the court if it issued stay orders on the works for the irrigation project, by taking note of the plight of the people who lost their land and homes for the irrigation project’s implementation.
The court’s green bench headed by Justice Rajasheker Reddy and Justice Naveen Rao was dealing with the petitions filed by 51 victims of the project from Vemulaghat village in Siddipet district and 26 villagers from Etigadda Kistapur. These people had complained that they had not been paid the R&R Package for their lost properties and loss of livelihood since 2019.
Counsel Ravi Kumar submitted that the government was discriminating against the petitioners in the payment of the promised package. He brought to the notice of the court that some of the affected families got more benefits than others like these petitioners. When this issue was raised, there was no response from the government, he said.
The bench questioned government counsel about the delay and discrimination in the release of the package. The court observed that it had several reports saying that the compensation to those who lost the land for the project 30 years ago has not been paid yet. “How was it that the government took away the properties of private individuals, particularly farmers, without paying the compensation and other benefits as per the promised package to the landowners, the court asked.
“If a court orders a stay of the works, it is usual for the government to blame the court. But, what about the rights of the common people,” the bench asked.
The court directed the government to pay the R&R Package to the petitioners latest by July 5 or else it would issue orders to halt the construction works.