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Gouravelli project: No one will be forcibly evicted, assures TS Finance Minister Harish

SIDDIPET: Finance Minister T Harish Rao on Wednesday assured the residents of Husnabad and Gudatipally that none of them will be forcibly evicted from their villages even as the government prepares to execute the Gauravelli project as planned. He also assured that the government is ready to talk to them as many times as possible to resolve the issue.

The residents, whose villages will be submerged on completion of the project, have been staging protests, seeking fair compensation for lands they stand to lose. It may be mentioned here that these protesters suffered injuries two days ago, first during a predawn police raid on their residences and then in attacks by the TRS workers.

On Wednesday, the protesters, joined by a number of Congress leaders, took out a tractor rally from Husnabad for Siddipet. Learning about the rally, Siddipet Police Commissioner Shweta Reddy reached out to the oustees and informed them that Minister Harish Rao had invited them for a meeting to discuss their issues.

Then the protesters led by Gudatipally Sarpanch Raji Reddy and Congress leader Ponnam Prabhakar, Congress Kisan Cell national vice-chairman M Kodanda Reddy, met the Minister near the Ranganayak Sagar project in Chinnakodur mandal.

When the representatives demanded Rs 8 lakh each for those who are 18 years of age under the Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) package, the Minister made it clear that the government would not be able to give them money at present but assured that 200 sqyds of government land would be allotted to them between Siddipet and Husnabad.

The oustees also demanded Rs 5.04 lakh each for 937 people who were displaced when the project was planned in 2008 so that they could construct houses. The Minister said: “There is any such scheme now. But we will try to Rs 3 lakh each to build houses.”

When the oustees pointed out that the government still needs to acquire another 84 acres of land to complete the project and that they are willing to part with their lands if the government increased the price of land to over Rs 15 lakh, the Minister said that they would get Rs 15 lakh compensation cheques by evening if they sign the papers in the morning.

However, he said that the government is not keen on increasing the rates. “If you want more money, you can approach the court and the government would abide by the court’s orders,” he said.

When oustees pointed that that 24 elderly oustees from Gudatipally were yet to receive their R&R package, he assured that a survey would be conducted to identify them. The protestors, meanwhile, decided to hold a Gram Sabha to discuss the assurances given by the Minister and take a decision after taking everyone’s view.