In 2012, P. Bhulakshmi’s three-acre farmland was notified by the government for acquisition as part of the Anantagiri reservoir project. Within a year, the land had been acquired and the 50-something farmer from Yellaipally village in Chinnakodur mandal paid a compensation of ₹4.5 lakh per acre.
On Monday, Bhulakshmi attempted suicide by consuming pesticide at her farm and her family members were taken into police custody as they tried to stop officials from digging pits on their land for the government’s double bedroom housing project. Reason? The family was objecting to the land being used for a purpose different from what it had been sold for. Bhulakshmi is now undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
Her son, P. Komaravelli, says they had five acres, of which three acres were acquired for the reservoir. The government has acquired over 150 acres for the project from farmers in Allipur, Yellaipally, Chintalapally and Anantagiri. The reservoir is nearing completion and part of the land acquired from Bhulakshmi was unused.
“Our issue is that the land is being used for a completely different purpose — construction of double bedroom houses. We object to the misuse. We are ready to give back the compensation amount that we received from the government if they return the unused land to us. We will undertake cultivation on it again,” he points out.
In the past, Komaravelli recalls, they made several representations to the government but in vain. “Irrigation officials are telling us that we will not have any right to the land since the compensation has already been paid to us. Why do the officials have the right to use the land for another purpose,” he asks.
An official admits that 26 houses are planned to come up on Bhulakshmi’s land. “Yes, it was acquired for the Anantagiri reservoir and is now being used for the construction of double bedroom houses for the land oustees. Hence, it is not a violation,” the official adds.
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