WARANGAL: The biennial tribal festival, Sammakka Sarakka jatara,is time to celebrate for many, but for the tribals, it spells doom as they stand to lose the second crop every alternative year. With no compensation from the government, they have taken to legal recourse to make good their loss.
The jatara, celebrated at Medaram, about 80 km from here, attracts lakhs of devotees and farm lands around are used for providing amenities to the visitors. The arrangements stretch to about 5 km covering 1,500 acres cultivated by 500 farmers of five villages.
With government not responding to the demand for compensation for crop loss and causing damage to cultivable land, the villagers have moved the High Court.
Every time, the government issues an order for keep the land barren for the jatara and the tribals cannot go for the second crop either. Former Sarpanch of Oorattam village, Ch Jagannath Rao, has taken the matter to the Court and his plea was admitted on December 27.
"Officials are concerned only about the conduct of the jatara. We lose nearly `30,000 per acre as we have to keep the land barren during Rabi," says Jagannath Rao. "The land is defaced with plastic and other waste during the jatara and even when there is damage to borewells we do not get any compensation," he says.
Nearly 60 percent of the land that bears the brunt of the festival is cultivated by tribals and the rest is with SCs, in the five villages of Medaram, Oorattam, Kothuru, Kannepalli and Rddygudem.
Bobbili Papayya, who has four acres, says: "The land becomes useless after the jatara. It takes a lot of effort to mend it and it costs at least `10,000 per acre."
Tadvai mandal tahasildar L Jeevakar Reddy said when the villagers have asked for compensation, the subcollector at Mulugu ordered a survey of the land and the report was sent to the collector's office. We are awaiting further instructions.
Ch Chandrasekhar, who has three acres on the banks of Jampanna stream, says the land becomes unfit for cultivation with the all waste and leftovers after the jatara. Political leaders did not help us. It is better if the government acquires the entire land and pays us adequate compensation.
According to government data, 500 farmers live in the surrounding of the Medaram jatara venue. Only nine acres of land belongs to the endowments department, while 50 acres belong to the revenue department.