Mallannasagar oustees dig in heels as government mounts pressure

‘We will vacate village only after all compensations are paid, new houses are built’

It is a do-or-die situation for residents of some submerging villages under Mallannasagar reservoir. Pressure is mounting on them to vacate their homes so that bund construction work can progress faster and Godavari water from Kaleswaram can be released into the 50 tmcft-capacity reservoir that is nearing completion.

For the past three days, Etigaddakishtapur and Pallepahad villages have been witnessing heavy presence of police personnel and residents, especially women and the elderly, are feeling the pressure.

Even while the situation was tense in some villages, officials from revenue and irrigation departments visited tandas attached to Egitagaddakishtapur on Friday and Saturday. They have asked residents to vacate the village while promising all benefits would be extended to them and that they can choose a house at Mutrajpally where a Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) Colony is coming up for the Mallannasagar oustees.

“Officials have asked us to vacate the village and shift to the new houses. But we have made it clear to the officials that we will leave only after all compensations are paid and construction of the new houses are completed,” a tanda resident said, echoing the feelings of fellow villagers.

‘Officials creating fear’

On the other hand, release of water more than the carrying capacity into Mallannasagar is also being seen as a blackmailing tactic to pressurise the residents to vacate their village.

“Officials know that the flowing capacity of the canal is only 500 cusecs but they released 1,200 cusecs of water into it. That means it would overflow and fill quarries dug up to get black soil for Mallannasagar. Naturally, it will create fear among oustees. Release of water on Thursday night was intentional,” commented an oustee from Pallepahad.

So far, four villages — Rampur, Lakshmapur, Singrama and Erravalli — have been vacated while four others attached to tandas — Vemulaghat (hamlet village Turka Banjerpally) Etigaddakishtapur (tanda Mogula Cheruvu), Pallepahad (tanda) and Brahmana Banjerpally — are yet to be vacated.

“The officials have failed to provide permanent accommodation to those who have already vacated the villages. How can we be sure of a roof over our heads,” asked Swamy, another oustee.

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