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Chenchus: Telangana’s forgotten tribal people సెప్టెంబర్ 29, 2014

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Essays.
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By Mohammed Shafeeq*
WARANGAL (Telangana):  ODISHA SUN TIMES  Monday, September 29, 2014

They live close to the town but are miles away from civilization, living in utter poverty and inhuman conditions. They are Chenchus, a primitive tribe, in two villages barely 45 km from this town in the heart of Telangana state.

source: tribal.info /pic credit-Sathya Mohan

source: tribal.info /pic credit-Sathya Mohan

The majority of the 57 families in Chenchu Colony, a tribal hamlet of Chennapur village, survive on rats, cats, dogs, squirrels and other animals they hunt. Similar are the conditions of 24 families of Bhavusinghpally village.

The fruits of development have not reached the Chenchus, a majority of whom never stepped out of their villages till this week when Telangana assembly Speaker S. Madhusudana Chary brought them to Warangal to take them around. Though this aboriginal tribe mostly lives in the forests of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha, the two Chenchu villages are located in the plain area.

Their ancestors are believed to have come from deep forests and settled down over a century ago.

Wretchedness is writ large on their faces. With no decent and proper roof available to them, the frail-looking men and women and their children are prone to many ailments. Some work as farm labourers in nearby villages but their earnings are not enough to make both ends meet. (మరింత…)

Sense of alienation stalks tribals సెప్టెంబర్ 22, 2014

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Students are apprehensive as they’ve technically become non-locals

G. NAGARAJA  The Hindu, Kukkunuru (West Godavari Dist.), September 21, 2014

The Kukkunuru Tahasildar office with the name board showing its past affiliation to Telangana even after its merger with Andhra Pradesh. - Photo AVG Prasad

The Kukkunuru Tahasildar office with the name board showing its                                             past affiliation to Telangana even after its merger with AP .                                                                – Photo AVG Prasad

A feeling of alienation stalks people in villages under Kukkunuru, Velerupadu and Burgampad mandals, which became part of West Godavri district following the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act, 2014. Thursday’s gesture of the district administration to reach out to the ceded areas to build bridges with the people who earlier belonged to Telangana hardly helped in inculcating a sense of inclusiveness among them.

The feeling of alienation among them was palpable, mainly with their very existence coming under question in the backdrop of the Indira Sagar project.

Nativity issues in education and employment, lack of geographical homogeneity between the ceded areas and the rest of West Godavari district, poor connectivity and failure of the authorities in implementing welfare programmes make them alienated. “We have become nobody’s babies. We don’t have drinking water and no seed to raise cotton,” a tribal told Collector Katamneni Bhaskar at a function at Kukkunuru.

Threat of submergence

All villages in the ceded mandals are facing threat of submergence, thanks to the Polavaram project. Nothing tangible has come forth from the official machinery yet for provision of alternative lands and building R&R colonies for the project victims.

These merged areas are tucked away in a manner that one has to pass through the Telangana State through a stretch of nearly 50 km from Kukkunur on the Aswaraopet-Bhadrachalam road to enter the borders of West Godavari district near Jeelugumilli. Their gruelling bus journey to the ceded areas from the district headquarters has woken up the official machinery.

The bus that started from the District Collectorate with 35 district level officers representing various government departments at 7.30 a.m. one day reached Kukkunuru by 11.30 a.m. It is another one hour drive to Velerupadu from Kukkunuru.

Denial of opportunity

Students and unemployed youth fear denial of opportunities in education and employment since they technical became non-locals with their studies elsewhere in Telangana after the merger of the villages with Andhra Pradesh. The welfare schemes such as employment generation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and distribution of titles for forest lands under enjoyment by tribals under the Forest Rights Act failed to trickle into these remote areas due to the bifurcation hiccups.

Andhra Pradesh takes control of seven mandals in Khammam సెప్టెంబర్ 4, 2014

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Essays.
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Deccan Chronicle, September 03, 2014
Khammam: Andhra Pradesh state on Tuesday began administration of the seven mandals in Khammam district that were transferred to it from Telangana for ease of construction of the Polavaram Irrigation Project. Collectors of West and East Godavari districts formally took over administration of the mandals.
The mandal revenue officers have been asked to send the demand drafts received from the dealers of fair price shops to the concerned collectorates. Kunavaram, VR Puram, Chintoor and Nellipaka mandals have come under the Rampachodaravaram revenue division in East Godavari district while Veleirpad, Burgumpahad and Kukkunoor mandals under the West Godavari district.
Rice and sugar, which was stocked in the godowns would be distributed to the people on behalf of the AP government. It is also decided to extend all other services like social pensions, education and revenue from the AP government.
As per the details, there were 2,000 employees working in various departments in these seven mandals. Nearly 80 per cent of the employees evinced interest to work in Telangana and the remaining preferred to continue in AP.
Bhadrachalam RDO Anjaiah said, “The employees’ transfer would be done in phased manner.”
Some 463 of the 673 teachers working in these mandals would be deputed in the vacant posts in Khammam district first.

Telangana AAP holding round-table on Polavaram సెప్టెంబర్ 2, 2014

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The Hindu, Hyderabad,  August 31, 2014

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Telangana, is supporting an alternative plan for Polavaram Project in a bid to avoid displacement of the tribal people in the region. The plan prepared by M. Dharma Rao, retired chief engineer of united Andhra Pradesh, was released on Saturday at a press meet organised by the party.

Salient features of the alternative plan include diversion of water from Sileru river into Yeleru river through a tunnel and diversion of water from Dummugudem anicut across the Godavari river through a tunnel to meet Krishna basin requirements. One of the proposals is also to balance reservoirs on hill streams such as Sokuleru to meet the exigencies of delta and other drinking water requirements.

Mr. Rao said that this plan was a win-win situation for all the sections of people in the Eastern Ghats as it would avoid submergence and consequent adverse effects. He said that this plan would ensure that nature is protected and displacement of people can be totally avoided.

The party members opposed the Polavaram project in the present form and will do everything possible to stop it. “The project is in total violation of every legislature in the country. Nowhere in the world did three lakh people get displaced because of an irrigation project. The matter is in Supreme Court and we are mobilising support countrywide on this issue,” said P.L. Visweshwar Rao, spokesperson, AAP (Telangana).

The party is holding a round-table meeting on September 6 at the Sundarayya Vignan Kendram and has invited political party representatives, civil society members and others to deliberate on this issue as well as on the increasing farmer suicides in the new state.

The party has also released the list of about 100 farmers who had died in Telangana since the formation of the TRS government. It demanded that the government to immediately waive off farmer loans as promised and provide Rs. 20,000 to each farmer to buy quality seeds, pesticides and fertilizer.

 

Odisha opposes Polavaram dam at National Water Resources Council meet డిసెంబర్ 30, 2012

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in biodiversity, Congress, corruption, ecology, Koya, Polavaram.
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The Pioneer

Odisha opposes AP irrigation plan at meet
Saturday, 29 December 2012 PNS | Bhubaneswar

The State Government strongly opposed the ongoing controversial multipurpose Polavaram Irrigation Project of Andhra Pradesh at the 6th meeting of the National Water Resources Council held at New Delhi on Friday and accused the Centre of evading its responsibility in resolving the inter-State river dispute and forcing the State to seek recourse in legal remedies.

The Government urged the Centre at the meeting held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to constitute a task force to examine the problems of flood, drainage congestion and coastal erosion of the State, besides demanding formulation of a comprehensive scheme to look at development of water resources in eastern region, including Odisha in a holistic manner. (మరింత…)

Adivasis launch ‘Jala Deeksha’ అక్టోబర్ 21, 2012

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, biodiversity, Congress, corruption, Culture, ecology, Godavari, heritage, Identity, indigenous, Khammam, Koya, Polavaram, ST, struggle, Telangana, YSR.
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Adivasis launch ‘Jala Deeksha’
Staff reporter, The Hindu, Khammam, October 19, 2012

Standing in waist-deep water near Kunavaram, the protesters raise slogans against Polavaram project

Adivasis from areas facing submergence from the Polavaram project on Thursday launched a relay “Jala Deeksha” at the confluence point of the Sabari and the Godavari near Kunavaram.

The Adivasis launched the agitation under the aegis of the “People Against Polavaram Project” (PAPP), an inter-State committee comprising various tribal organisations of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Ordisha. Adivasis from Malkangiri district in Odisha and Sukma district in Chhattisgarh participated in the stir on the first day.
(మరింత…)

Transstroy is now the contractor to build disputed Polavaram Dam అక్టోబర్ 18, 2012

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, biodiversity, Congress, corruption, ecology, Godavari, Khammam, Koya, Polavaram, politics, regionalism, TDP, Telangana, TRS.
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Transstroy to implement Polavaram project

Special Correspondent, The Hindu, Hyderabad, October 18,2012

The consortium of Transstroy-JSC EC UES has finally been selected as the contractor to build the three main components of the Rs. 16,100-crore Polavaram project — rock-fill-cum-earthen dam, spillway and penstocks for 960-MW powerhouse planned as part of the project.

The selection has been made by the State Level Standing Committee (SLSC) headed by C. Muralidhar, engineer-in-chief, Irrigation, and reportedly approved by the High Level Committee which has Chief Secretary (Minnie Mathews) as its chairperson. The SLSC has other engineers-in-chief, the director, Finance, and the chief engineer, Central Designs Organisation, as members. Subject to final approval of the selection by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Transstroy consortium will be awarded the contract for the works. Transstroy-JSC EC UES quoted a price of Rs. 4,054 crore which was 14 per cent less than the IBM (internal bench mark) value fixed by the government at Rs. 4,717 crore. (మరింత…)

EIA report by project authorities is a joke, Public Hearing on Polavaram dam soon మార్చి 19, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in agitation, Andhrapreneurship, Bhadrachalam, Congress, corruption, Economy, Godavari, heritage, Koya, Polavaram, politics.
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Present system of environmental assessment flawed: Ramesh
The Pioneer, March 19, 2011 10:40:27 PM

PTI | Hyderabad

Admitting that the present system of preparing environmental assessment report is flawed, Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh today said the Ministry would now seek third-party opinion to evaluate the projects.

He also informed that the Ministry would soon map the wetland areas in the country to formulate a better definition of the same.

The Minister said the present system of preparing environmental assessment report is flawed and the Ministry itself would take third party opinion on environment in projects like coal, power and construction of ports.

“We have done the satellite mapping of all wet lands in the country. We have wetland atlas of every state which will be released by month-end. So far we did not follow scientific approach of wetland management as in revenue record, wet land is recorded as waste land. All these are legacies of the past. We will clean up the system,” the Minister told reporters on the sidelines of Green Landscape Summit-2011 organised by CII.

He also ridiculed the present system of preparing the environmental assessment report by the company itself which is proposing to set up a project.

“Environmental impact assessment report is bit of joke. I admit it publicly. In our system the person who is putting up the project will be preparing the assessment report. I have been very concerned about this. Supreme Court has also expressed its concern,” Ramesh said. (మరింత…)

Chhattisgarh govt to oppose Polavaram dam at all levels మార్చి 19, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Bhadrachalam, Godavari, Gond, heritage, Identity, Koya, livelihoods, Polavaram, politics, population.
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Chhattisgarh to hold public hearing on Polavaram irrigation project
Statesman News Service, 16 March 2011 The Statesman

RAIPUR, 16 March: Following strong objections realised against a planned Polavaram irrigation project by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on the Godavari, Chhattisgarh today confirmed that the Centre has asked it to hold a public hearing on the issue.

“Union minister for forest and environment Mr Jairam Ramesh has agreed to hold a public hearing over Polavaram irrigation project after Chhattisgarh government strongly placed the case before him,’’ an official statement said. (మరింత…)

Now Environment Minister Ramesh requests Polavaram Dam height reduced మార్చి 6, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, Bhadrachalam, Congress, corruption, Godavari, heritage, Kakatiya, Khammam, Koya, livelihoods, Polavaram, politics, ST, TDP, Telangana, TRS, Vishakapatnam.
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Ramesh wants Polavaram Dam height reduced
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, March 05, 2011

Four months after issuing a notice to Andhra Pradesh government on south India’s biggest dam project, Polavaram, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh wants to reduce the dam’s height to end confrontation between Andhra and its two neighbouring states – Orissa and Chhattisgarh. The state Government has decided to retain the 150-ft height for the dam of the Polavaram project, which many believe can lead to submergence of villages in naxal struck Malkangiri in Orissa and Dantewada in Chhattisgarh and provide ammunition to naxals.

The decision taken on recommendation of a nine-member committee by Preetam Singh, former Chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC), has irked the two state governments, who alleged they were not consulted before deciding to increase the height by about 60 meters.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh in a letter to Ramesh had complained that increasing the height would lead to huge submergence of land area in Dantewada as compared to environment clearance condition that only four villages will be affected. (మరింత…)