HYDERABAD: For the last 32 days, sexagenarian K Venkatramulu has been sitting under a tent in the scorching hot sun to protest against the acquisition of what he calls is community land by the government. He is joined by other residents, mostly women and elderly, of Nanakramguda area in Financial District.
Their bone of contention is a miniscule open piece of land measuring about 1,200 square yards, survey number 115, that is surrounded by high-rises housing offices and shimmering with glass and steel. The one adjacent to the land is the WaveRock IT Park. From above, the patch of land looks like an island amid a concrete jungle.
A women's cooperative society in Nanakramguda claims the land belongs to them. However, last month, the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Cooperation(TSIIC) gave the same piece of land to Telangana State Road Transport Corporation(TSRTC) to develop a shelter for buses that have their last stops at WaveRock.
"Nanakramguda does not have any government buildings or open spaces for the locals. This is our only open space. Those from poor families conduct their weddings or family functions here as we do not have any community halls built by GHMC. How can government be so heartless and snatch even such a small bit of land from us?" asks K Venkatramulu.
Residents of Nanakramguda -- whose village lands have been taken over by industrialists and real estate developers over the years as the IT boom began to engulf the city -- are not new to battles to save what they claim is theirs. This time though, they feel it's a last ditch effort to save what they claim is the last patch of land that belongs to their community.
At one corner of the disputed land is a two-roomed building named Indira Gandhi Mahila Mandali Bhavanam. One room is used to run tailoring classes for local women and the other functions as an anganwadi for children in the area. They claim the land was gifted to them decades ago, during the rein of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
A foundation stone laid in 2012 says `8.3 lakh was granted by government for the construction of the two-room building. Former ministers S Jaipal Reddy, Sabitha Indra Reddy and D Sridhar Babu were present for the ceremony. "We have given several representations to several authorities to save our land but there has been no response," says Congress leader from Serlingampally Ravi Goud. Annapurna Bai, a member of the mahila mandal says, "All the lands in Nanakramguda have been given away to IT companies. Do we not have rights over even such small piece of land for the sake of our community."
TSIIC zonal manager C Vinod Kumar dismisses the claim. "The locals first constructed a religious structure near the open land. Now they are trying to encroach the space besides it," he says. "The land belongs to TSIIC. We gave permission to TSRTC to utilise the space for the benefit of bus commuters."
Now, Nanakramguda residents are greeted by a board installed in 'their land' that reads: 'ZM/CYB.TSRTC.2018/2952', survey number 115, has been given to TSRTC for constructing a bus station. Trespassers will be prosecuted."