VIJAYAWADA: Amid allegations of forcible eviction of Polavaram project displaced families (PDFs), especially from tribal areas, Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) officials visited eight rehabilitation and resettlement (R and R) colonies in West Godavari district on Tuesday and interacted with the families directly. The families informed PPA that they had voluntarily moved to the R and R colonies in view of the closure of gaps in cofferdams, the officials claimed.
Sources said after receiving complaints of forcible eviction of PDFs by the State machinery, PPA chief executive officer (CEO) J Chandrasekhar Iyer and his colleagues, who are on a three-day visit to the site since Monday, inspected the R and R colonies to take stock of the situation. They visited the colonies in Taduvai, Kamayyapalem, Doramamidi, Sagipadu, LND pet-I and II, Ramayanpet and others, which are under the +41.15 metre contour of the project.
It is said that the PDFs informed the authority that since cofferdam was not closed previously, they used to go uphill and stay, and that they moved to the R and R colonies following the closure of the gaps. Although roads have still not been laid, they added that basic facilities such as houses, water supply, electricity, bathroom and sewage were available. Officials said the PPA CEO noted the improvement in the facilities since his last visit in December, 2020.
Meanwhile, the National Monitoring Committee for Rehabilitation and Resettlement of the Union Ministry of Rural Development’s department of land resources has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday to review and monitor the implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement of various projects, particularly Polavaram Irrigation Project.
According to the agenda, the officials, under the chairmanship of union secretary, will share and discuss the progress of land acquisition and R and R of PIP between August, 2020, and May, 2021 to strength the entire mechanism of LARR. The committee will look into the issues of compensation and other as well. Further, the members of the committee will also discuss the representation by environmental activists Dr Pentapali Pullarao over the issues of alleged eviction of project displaced families.
Central team to review R&R
A central government team has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, to review and monitor the implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement of various projects, particularly Polavaram.
It is said that the families told PPA that since cofferdam was not closed previously, they used to go uphill and stay, and that they moved to the R and R colonies following the closure of the gaps.
On Wednesday, the PPA team is scheduled to visit R and R colonies and other components in East Godavari, before leaving for Hyderabad later in the night.