Samwad Yatra Report: Day 38, Khammam

The Yatra visited the village of Komipali in Khammam district which is badly affected by the existence of the Open Cast Coal Mining area. The villagers spoke in a public hearing about how the Singareni Company (a Andhra Pradesh Government owned) was set up recently in 2006, even after several protests of the villagers. The village people informed us that all the tribal, dalit,  and minority sections of society who live here are now threatened because of 1800 acres of private, assigned and common property taken by the company with almost no compensation. Not a single person from this village received a job at the mining site. Mr Yasin, a local farmer told us that during the period of Nizams, the villagers were assigned to cultivate about 2580 acres of land for their own cultivation and other purposes. When mining started in 2006, the state officials visited the village and offered compensation and jobs to the people. Later they realized that this was just a false promise made for taking their land.

Mrs Sugna, an elderly lady, spoke about how the only thing they got from the mining was acute pollution and several diseases. She raised questions about the states’ accountability and constitutional commitment. Mr Kanta Rao explained that the company and state together conducted a public hearing in Satupalli (about 20 kms from village) and without informing them of any adverse impact had grabbed all the local resources from them. Villagers also informed us about  the depleting rate of ground water in the recent past.

There was a Bhumi Darbar called by Natwan Sangam (a tribal women organization) in Pentlam village situated in dense forest of Chandragonda Mandal of Khammam district. Mr Kanta Rao, a village leader mentioned how the colonial question of land ownership is still unresolved in the Khammam district. With the help of Natwan Sangam, they have occupied about 625 acres of land and make this cultivable for their survival. Ms Bhujamma, explained that local forest officials behave vary badly with the women and men and booked 10 people (including her) for a week. They also face a lot of false offences against them, but the struggle for the land is continuing. A similar example is also set in Rajapuram where a local group have occupied 300 acres of land and are now fighting for their rights. In the village of Chinnagudam, these organizations help them to occupy 150 acres of land for their survival. Recently, they have applied for developing this land under NREGA, but the application is not yet honoured. Mrs Laxmi, expressed her view about JSY and villagers agreed to join the October 2012 march to Delhi.

The last meeting of the day was organized in the village Polancha with the help of a local organization called SIRI. In a public hearing, the internally displaced people, coming from Chattisgarh spoke on various atrocities they are facing over the last 6 years. Mr Deva, one young Koya tribal leader, explained how local people help them to find at least a shelter and land for survival. Now about 150 such young people are doing casual labour in villages. Mr Sadsukoya is also one of those 170 people, who walked from Chhattisgarh after violence there. They would like to register their claims under FRA.

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