In a first, compensation paid for loss of livelihood

Farm labourers receive ₹7.5 lakh each in addition to a plot and 2BHK house

The oustees of Mallannasagar project fought hard to receive the compensation that their land deserves, and they were the ones who owned land. Some received compensation under Government Order (GO) 123, while others, who had moved the court seeking better Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) package, received compensation under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act-2013 (LA Act-2013).

Under the GO 123, the government compensated farmers who were losing their land and houses, but it failed to cover farm labourers. One of them, Nayini Saritha, a native of Etigaddakishtapur in Toguta mandal, would also lose her house, which has three owners. Being a farm labourer, she was not covered under GO 123 like 92 others in the village which unsettled her. After her husband’s demise on January 28, 2013, she worked as a farm labourer to sustain her family which includes two children – Bhanu Prasad and Deekshita.

With the land in her village being acquired for the Mallannasagar project, she has no place to work at or a place to go to. As she lost her livelihood, she had no option but to fight for her cause. She along with 92 other farm labourers moved the High Court demanding implementation of the LA Act-2013 under which, it is mandatory for the government to address the concerns of the farm labourers as well.

The court directed the State government to address their grievances before the commencement of the work, but contractors went ahead with the work forcing the petitioners to approach the court once again with a contempt case.

With the High Court ruling in favour of the farm labourers and asking the government to address their concerns, the authorities concerned extended the R&R package to farm labourers for oustees under both Mallannasagar and Kondapochamma reservoirs. Each of the farm labourer was given ₹7.5 lakh for losing their livelihood. This was in addition to the houses sanctioned for them as part of the rehabilitation package. The additional advocate general informed to the court that on May 16, all the 93 petitioners, including Saritha, were paid the compensation.

“For the first time after enacting the LA Act-2013, poor farm labourers received compensation for the loss of their livelihood from the government,” Ch. Ravi Kumar, advocate for land oustees, told The Hindu.

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