Hyderabad: 7 yrs on, fort farmers await compensation
Hyderabad: Seven years on, the displaced farmers of Naya Qila continue to run from pillar to post for getting compensation for loss of livelihood after the Hyderabad Golf Course was launched within the ramparts of the famous Golconda Fort.
Tulsi Bai (65), whose family cultivated paddy, along with more than 50 other families staying in localities of the fort for generations, said that her husband had committed suicide unable to cope with the situation after their land was confiscated. While some others died of heart attacks within days.
"The over 50 families were completely dependent on farming. After losing land, my husband died and I started working as a sweeper in school. Due to old age I stopped and hope that the government would resolve the matter at the earliest," she said.
Originally, the 54 acres of land inside the fort called Naya Qila was proposed for Bird Sanctuary, which was later replaced by the Golf Course. Prior to 2013, farmers cultivated paddy and raised other crops.
"They never accepted compensation for their land, which is lying in court. Their land was forcibly taken possession of with the help of the police. Dejected by the callous attitude of the government, I attempted suicide twice," sighed Ilyas Khan, general secretary, Farmers' Association of Naya Qila, Golconda Fort.
According to the association, even though the government had acquired the land under the then rules its transfer was not affected and the matter remained pending with the revenue authorities following inconclusive discussions. "Such transfer is against the will of the farmers.
A recent ruling observed that the acquisition of agricultural land should only be for a public purpose. The Golf Course has neither been declared a public purpose project nor qualifies for it," argues K Srihari Babu, president of the association.
The association members, including women like Tulsi Bai, supported by activists, like Jasveen Jairat, Md Afzal, held a dharna in front of the Hyderabad Collectorate, as they never got an opportunity to meet the Collector Swetha Mohanty.
Later, policemen, who appeared on the scene, facilitated the appointment with the Joint Collector, who had earlier served as Golconda MRO. He assured farmers to speed up the process of handing over land at Government identified site in Moinabad Mandal, which was agreed to by farmers after holding discussions with the Collector.