- Deccan Chronicle
Polavaram payments: RTI reply shows Rs.6 cr paid to fake farmers
KAKINADA: A major scam has unfolded in land acquisition relating to Polavaram Project. Officials paid a compensation of Rs. 6 crore to 21 “fake” farmers for “82 acres of Konda Podu land” in K Veeravaram village of Chinaramanaiapheta panchayat in Dandangi area of Devipatnam mandal in Alluri Seetharama Raju District.
According to sources, officers of the Polavaram project left main canal project (LA) paid Rs. 6,17,77,500 for 82.37 acres of land to 21 farmers. The deal was fake and a case of misappropriation of government funds.
Polavaram project Gokavaram R&R colony ex-co-option member Posala Venkata Krishna Rao gave an RTI application and got the details of the land compensation. After a careful examination of the survey numbers and names of farmers who took the compensation, it was clear that these were all fake entries.
“The officials paid so-called ‘compensation’ to fake farmers. As per the records, some land out of the 82.37 acres had not been allotted to anyone. The mandal tahsildar office gave the reply that there was no record for the land owners or pattadars of the said land. “But, the LMC has paid the compensation of the lands to fake farmers,’’ Krishna Rao said.
Rao has lodged a complaint with Alluri Seetharama Raju collector Suimit Kumar. He pleaded that the government do a probe on the scam. In fact, several land compensation scams may come to light if a CID or CBI probe is initiated, he said.
Matta Mehrababa, a farmer, said when he approached the land acquisition officer for compensation to his acquired lands, he has found that payments for his land of 5 acres has been done to fake farmers. The records of the pattas were found missing in the tahsildar’s office, as per his knowledge.
Notably, special collector for the Polavaram project E Murali, special deputy collector B Sivannarayana Reddy (retired), MRO, RI, VRO and others and some of the farmers had been arrested in the Gubbalampalem land scam.
Recently, the Devipatnam police registered criminal cases against suspended Murali (land acquisition in-charge), Sivannarayana Reddy of Chinturu unit of Land Acquisition department and 27 fake farmers on the charge of misappropriation of government funds worth `19.52 crore.
The suspended Murali and Sivannarayana Reddy have made payments to 27 farmers who allegedly submitted fake documents for lands of 244.39 acres.
Adivasi Mahasabha legal adviser I Suryanarayana, Y Paravati Padmalatha and others lodged a complaint with Alluri Seetharamaraju district collector Sumit Kumar, alleging that the two officials paid `19.52 crore by violating court orders.
They said, “There is a controversy over tribal farmers and non-tribal farmers, related to the land at Kondamodalu village. With this, land acquisition officials deposited `22,24,38,064 to the Visakha Tribunal R&R authority. The amount should be paid to the actual beneficiaries, whose names will be declared by the authority. Till then, the amount should not be paid, it had been ordered.
But, the then SDC Sivannarayana Reddy did not follow the instructions and paid `19.52 crore to 27 farmers. This was a gross violation of court orders.
Sumit Kumar ordered the Project Administrator of Polavaram Irrigation Project Pravin Adhithya to investigate the matter. Devipatnam police registered criminal cases against the two officials and 27 farmers.