Lokesh decries ‘raw deal’ to Polavaram evacuees

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-Lokesh decries ‘raw deal’ to Polavaram evacuees
-Writes to CM for promised Rs 10 L package
-Govt should take up full fledged resettlement
-Provide facilities in evacuees’ colonies

AMARAVATI: TDP National General Secretary Nara Lokesh on Thursday urged Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy not to neglect the settlement of Polavaram project evacuees and ensure immediate payment of the promised R&R package to them.

In a letter to the CM here, Lokesh strongly objected to the manner in which over 1,500 evacuees from 19 affected villages in West Godavari were forcibly driven out without providing any further assistance. These aggrieved families were doing a protest ‘deeksha’ for over four weeks but the local YSRCP MLA and the officials were turning a deaf ear.

Lokesh said the MLA and local Tahsildar visited only once when the oustee families had been displaced six months ago and were protesting for weeks together. The MLA promised to take a delegation of 10 members of the evacuees’ ‘Ikya Vedika’ (united front) to the Chief Minister but this had not happened so far. They have been planning only to delay and drag the issue of solving the tribals’ problems.

Nara Lokesh told the CM that the 1,500 evacuees were shifted from four mandals on the pretext of flood threat. However, the officials did not provide any alternative arrangements for them. No boarding or drinking water facilities were there. They came out with bare clothing on their bodies and are not able to pay rent now.

Condemning the Government’s ‘negligence’, Lokesh said the colonies for the oustees were not made ready. The affected evacuees have been holding their relay hunder protests under the banner of Ikya Vedika at Polavaram Etigattu Centre. Everyday, over 30 tribal evacuees were sitting on hunger protests.

The TDP MLC deplored that the Adivasis, who would have been living happily in their native habitations, were now having to live uncertain lives in other places. They have been shifted over 6 months ago but still no oustee colonies were prepared for them. The MLA and the local officials were taking a lenient attitude towards their problems.

Lokesh demanded that the Chief Minister take steps for immediate resettlement as per the laws to all the evacuees under the Polavaram project. The CM announced Rs. 10 lakh package to all the oustees and this should be provided at the earliest. The R&R package should be perfectly provided to all the displaced families.

Nara Lokesh demanded implementation of the 2013 acquisition act while giving the package. The compensation should be provided to those who completed 18 years of age. All facilities should be provided in the colonies allotted for the evacuees. The day when the tribals were shifted from their villages should be taken as the ‘cut off date’.

Lokesh asserted that the CM had a duty to fulfill the promises that he made to the Polavaram evacuees when he was the opposition leader. Non-provision of the facilities in the oustee colonies would be tantamount to violation of the laws. The YCP Government should take the responsibility to resolve the evacuees’ problems in a humanistic way. It should take a positive step and persuade the evacuees to give up their ‘protest deeksha’.

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