VIJAYAWADA: If all goes as per the plan, the State government is likely to complete the rehabilitation and resettlement (R and R) of Polavaram Irrigation Project (+41.15 m contour) latest by the end of October. While the entire process is linked to completion of the pending rehabilitation and resettlement colonies and release of bills by the state government, both of which are delayed, the authorities are expecting to ‘officially’ complete rehabilitation of 75 per cent of the first phase PDFs by the end of August or early September.
“We are in the process of rehabilitating another 5,000 PDFs and if all goes well, it will be done in the next 15 days or so. We plan to complete 75 per cent of the total target of 20,870 PDFs in the coming weeks. The remaining 25 per cent will be moved by September or October-end. But, again, it depends on the completion of the works and clearance of pending bills,” a senior official looking after R and R of Polavaram project told TNIE. The authorities used the word ‘officially’ because the rehabilitation process concludes only after the PDFs receive all the entitlements and the colonies have all necessary facilities. While the official reports state that close to 4,300 PDFs out of the total of 20,870 PDFs have been rehabilitated, another 5,600 PDFs have moved to the colonies or the habitations provided by the government over the last few months in view of the flooding season.
Since payment of compensation and other formalities are yet to be completed and colonies are also under development, the state government has only counted those PDFs who received all entitlements as rehabilitated. Of the 4,300 PDFs rehabilitated, 3,600 PDFs were moved in the previous years. Overall, around 9,900 PDFs are currently in the R and R colonies, most of which have houses, electricity, toilets and water supply as of now. Roads and other structures, including government buildings, will be built in the coming months. The PDFs moved voluntarily, the officials claimed.
There have been allegations of forcible eviction of PDFs, especially those in tribal areas, but the government has been maintaining that the families moved on their own taking cognisance of potential flooding after closure of upstream cofferdam. The officials have also been interacting with the PDFs to create awareness and move them to the colonies.
The +41.15 m contour involves the completion of a total of 73 R and R colonies. While most are in an ‘advanced’ stage of completion, the biggest of them all - in Taduvai - is not progressing as per the expectation. Houses in Taduvai account for 40 per cent of all the R and R houses and are being executed by AP State Housing Corporation Ltd. “We are trying to sort out the issues with the executing agencies, which are taking their own time. We are targeting the completion of Taduvai houses by October.
The state has missed multiple deadlines alreadys. This year, the State planned to complete the phase-I R and R by May and it was later revised to June. The Union ministry of Jal Shakti too had asked the State to replan its targets and complete the process by the end of July as the upstream cofferdam has also been closed and water level would rise. Later, the state targeted August-end for the completion.