400 days and counting: Telangana farmers protest construction over Mallannasagar reservoir

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Farmers of Vemulaghat village in Telangana’s Siddipet district, have been on a relay hunger strike for the last 400 days, protesting against construction over the Mallannasagar Reservoir.

The protestors are demanding the implementation of Right to Fair Compensation in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act – 2013.Every day in the morning, five to six farmers will gather under a large tent, and sit on a hunger strike until 5pm.

The protests began on June 4, 2016, with some of the villagers sitting under a large tent outside the Gram Panchayat and marking a day-long ‘deeksha’.

 

A ground report by The News Minute reveals that there were several incidents during protests earlier, resulting in at least two months when Section 144 was imposed in the village.

The protests have seen several addresses by politicians, civil society members, activists and academicians, besides arrests of politicians from the main opposition parties, Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

The start of the monsoon seems to have influenced the participation of the farmers in greater numbers.

“We are irrigating the same farms, even farmers who accepted the compensation were farming, why can’t we?”, asks Mallareddy, a farmer.

He also added that “We will protest till the government accepts our demands. We have also written to the District Collector to ensure an agricultural survey is done in  the village, which the state government had planned”.

However, according to media reports, Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao has reviewed the developments in the project and has instructed officials to speed up the process.He has also urged the local representatives to cooperate with digging of canals, with the local MLA being asked to look after the canal constructions in Dubbak constituency.

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