The Andhra Pradesh High Court has directed officials not to evacuate Polavaram project displaced families (PDFs) without implementing the R&R (rehabilitation and resettlement package). The court also directed the Polavaram Project Authority to submit details of R&R measures taken for displaced families. The High Court was hearing a petition filed by P Sivaramakrishna, director of an NGO named Sakti, saying Polavaram oustees were being evacuated from submergence villages without proper implementation of the R&R package.
According to The New Indian Express, the petitionerâ€™s counsel Advocate KS Murthy argued that Polavaram officials are storing water in the cofferdam leading to submergence of villages, forcing people to be evacuated even before their R&R package is implemented. The petitioner alleged that the tribal families who are being displaced did not receive proper compensation and were not given the RoFR (Records of Forest Rights) pattas, Deccan Chronicle reported. The petitionerâ€™s counsel said the Polavaram Project Authority must submit reports of their inspection of the project works and R&R works to the Union government.
According to Deccan Chronicle, the counter affidavit filed by officials claimed that R&R works were being done, and that benefits were being provided to displaced families in accordance with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The affidavit also claimed that basic amenities like water, electricity and sanitation had been completed in the R&R colonies and that remaining works were underway, while denying that forced evacuation without compensation was taking place.
With more families moving into the R&R colonies over the past month, several complaints had been raised about the quality of the R&R colonies and amenities provided. A division bench of Chief Justice AK Goswami and Justice N Jayasurya asked the Polavaram Project Authority to submit the details of R&R package implementation. The next hearing in the case has been posted to August 23.