The fault in the stars of Kudikilla’s mango ryots

As the mango trees were being felled for digging up a canal purportedly to provide irrigation water to farmers, unable to bear the torturous sight, the farmer collapsed.

Published: 25th December 2021 08:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th December 2021 08:20 AM   |  A+A-

Mango orchard

Representational Image, Mango orchard (File Photo)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Raising a mango grove isn’t an easy task. A farmer has to spend decades on it, expecting that future generations will be able to reap the benefits of his hard work. 

What if the trees are felled for digging up a canal purportedly to provide irrigation water to farmers. Unable to bear the torturous sight, the farmer collapsed.

No, these are not scenes from a movie. These are the events that led to the tragic demise of a farmer named T Balaswamy, 65, a resident of Kudikilla village in Nagarkurnool district. This is just another incident which highlights the agony of oustees of irrigation projects.

Tragedy of Balaswamy 

Earlier, after losing some land under the Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme, Balaswamy was left with 13 acres. Recently, the district administration, without holding a gram sabha or taking the consent of the villagers, decided to pass an order to acquire around 500 acres of land for the Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme. They announced a compensation of Rs 5.5 lakh per acre, plus additional compensation if the farmers had mango trees, borewells, open wells, pipelines and so on. 

As there are two TRS groups in the constituency, one led by former minister J Krishna Rao and the other by MLA B Harshavardhan Reddy, the villagers claim that the MLA’s supporters got a whopping Rs 18 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per acre, while the other group got just Rs 10 lakh per acre, depending on the composition of the lands/mango gardens. 

There were 70 farmers like Balaswamy, part of whose lands were under dispute. Balaswamy didn’t give his consent for acquisition as he wanted to clear the case in the court first. Many others gave their consent and were paid Rs 2 lakh as token compensation. They were assured of full payment after the dispute was resolved.  

Ten days ago, the contract agency representatives arrived at Balaswamy’s garden and began felling trees in front of him. He suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed. Balaswamy was shifted to Gandhi Hospital where he breathed his last on Friday.  Soon after the ryot’s demise, the villagers held a dharna at the contractor’s office with Balaswamy’s body. Forceful land acquisition was reported by many, who were scared to come out openly.


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