Sangareddy, Jul 25: A bandh observed by opposition parties in Medak district of Telangana in protest against police action on villagers facing displacement due to proposed Malanna Sagar irrigation project evoked mixed response today.
The call for day-long shutdown was given by Congress, Telugu Desam Party, CPM, and CPI, a day after police baton charged farmers near Yerravalli village in the district. Police briefly detained at least 200 workers of Congress, TDP, CPI, CPM and BJP for trying to enforce bandh before releasing them in noon.
The bandh has been peaceful so far and no untoward incident has been reported. Administration suspended RTC bus service in the district in morning as a precautionary measure. Business establishments, petrol pumps and cinema theatres, besides educational institutes remained closed in the district.
TDP MLA Revanth Reddy, former deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narsimha, ex-minister and district unit Congress president Sunitha Laxma Reddy, BJP state spokesperson Raghunandan Rao reached Gajwel town despite tight security at entry points and conducted a rally, following which police detained them. Congress spokesperson T Jayaprakash Reddy, along with his supporters, was taken into custody for staging a sit-in protest in front of Sangareddy bus depot.
Police also detained TDP workers in Gajwel, Narsapur, Medak, Andole, Narayankhed, Zaheerabad and Dubbak towns for trying to enforce shutdown. Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman Kodanda Ram was detained by police at Vanti Mamidi village on the border of Hyderabad and Medak districts, and was shifted to IDA Bollaram police station. Yesterday, at least 10 farmers from various villages fearing submergence due to the proposed project were injured in baton charge by police near Yerravalli village.
The police had lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob after they pelted stones at them. The TRS government led by K Chandrasekhar Rao has proposed to construct the Malanna Sagar project at Yetigadda Kishtapur village in Kondapak mandal, for which the government is acquiring 12,000 acres of land. Around 14 villages are likely to go under water due to the project.
Once completed, the project, estimated to cost Rs 9800 crore, would irrigate 12 lakh acres of land in Medak, Nizamabad, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy districts. However, villagers are resisting acquisition of land and are demanding compensation under the Land Acquisition Act 2013. The intermittent protests against the project have been going on for the last 50 days. Last week, a 73-year-old farmer, B Narasaiah, hailing from Pallepahad village, had committed suicide allegedly against the land acquisition for the project.