High drama as Vamsadhara oustees vent out anger in Andhra Pradesh

The oustees expressed their anger over the non-payment of compensation and delay in implementation of the relief package.

Published: 22nd January 2017 04:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2017 03:34 PM   |  A+A-

Vamsadhara oustees protest at the work site in LN Peta mandal in Srikakulam district on January 22. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

SRIKAKULAM: The oustees of Vamsadhara project vent out their anger over non-payment of compensation and delay in implementation of the relief and rehabilitation package near here on Sunday. 

More than 5,000 villagers belonging to 29 villages took it upon themselves when they obstructed the project work, ransacked office furniture and set four vehicles belonging to the construction company afire, as the deployed police remained mere bystanders. 

The oustees have been protesting for the last a few days. The district administration held talks with the villagers on Saturday, but could not convince the evacuees. To avoid untoward incident, the authorities deployed a posse of 500 police personnel too.

On Saturday, residents of Pedda Sankili, Chinna Sankili, Garlapadu, Tulagam, Dugupuram, Padali, Barripeta, Gadhapeta and others in Hiramandalam including Irapadu of Kotturu mandal gathered and besieged the authorities including the employees of Soma Company, which has bagged the contract of the works, near Garlapadu village.   

Demanding that the government implement the R&R package prior to taking up the earth works of the project in the affected villages, the oustees obstructed the construction works at Moduvalasa in LN Peta mandal. 

With the cops trying to prevent them, the residents were divided into three groups. 

One group set afire four vehicles of the Soma Company and tents and other material at the camps site at the spillway of the reservoir. Another group barged into the office of Patel Company, a sub-contracting agency to Soma Company, and ransacked the office furniture. 

The third group marched to the Tehsildar office and mandal development office at Hiramandalam and vented out their ire on the office furniture. 

The police had no option, but to wait until the villagers vented out their ire. 

The construction company immediately stopped the earth works even as the police picketing continued.

The government started the project works in 2005 and has not paid the R&R package and other benefits promised to the oustees. 

“In 2007, the govt, which issued pattas to the evacuees for accommodation, is yet to show the layout. All are vexed as the government has reneged on its promise,” said R Papa Rao, an evacuee  from Hiramandalam. 

On Saturday, authorities started excavating the pathway at Chinna Kollivasa as part of the project works in the presence of police. With the oustees protesting the move, the officials had stopped the earth works. SP J Brahma Reddy held a parley with village heads at Hiramandalam police station. The village heads had ascertained that government must stop the earth works until the full and final settlement of the R&R package. 

The protesters said that the authorities and local MLAs and ministers had promised that compensation amounts would be paid to evacuees by November last year.  “They did not pay us and delayed the deadline for payments till January 15. This time too they failed again. Without making settlement, they started the works at Chinnakollivasala which made us angry,” said Someswara Rao, another evacuee  from Tulagam, adding that police provoked the village heads with his arrogant words.

However, the SP said the villagers took law and order in their hands. “I appeal the residents to stay calm and explore a solution in a peaceful way,” he said.


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