|East Godavari | West Godavari|
|SAKTI is working in Khammam since 1994. OXFAM and later Action-Aid supported SAKTI’s work till 1997. Khammam has 33 mandals in the Scheduled Area covering almost 70% of the district. Almost 50% of the cultivable land has been occupied by non-tribals. The distribution of land to tribals in this district has been negligible. As a result of SAKTI’s action, 1600 acres of cashew plantations raised by AP Forest Development Corporation have been distributed to tribals. The tribal community, belonging to the same tribe as those in West Godavari have joined them to work under the banner of the CBO SAKTI registered by the WG tribals.|
|The tribal agitation appears to have subsided at least for now. The leaders who gave the revenue officials one month time for completing the land survey, promised to return and resume the movement if the result is otherwise. But will they ever be able to do so? The tribals have their own doubts about continuation of the agitation. Because there was no visible note of dissent among the volunteers who spearheaded the agitation all these days. There was meticulous planning to buy their silence and it paid dividends in just few months. Some of the tribal activists are today no way less than the politicians. They have become so close to the people in power that they can get a mandal level officials transferred or posted at the place of their choice.
The Revenue Department sought to give one acre each so as to cover a large number of families in the first phase. But an officer of DIG rank reportedly wanted it to be the other way. A few tribal activists who remained unyielding all these days figured ultimately in the first list of beneficiaries for land assignment. Mr.Soyam Chandrasekhar, the main organiser of tribals in Kothuru village is one among them. He gave a tough time to the entire official machinery during the agitation. As a way out, he was allotted 4.2 acres of fertile land partly covered with lush green mango-groves and cashew gardens which were developed so well and so long jointly by two non-tribal farmers, while many of his followers are made to wait for the next round of land distribution.
-The Hindu, Thursday July 23, 1998
|Tribals stage dharna|
|- Khammam, Aug.25.- The Hindu August 26, 1998|
|About 300 tribals staged a dharna near Achyutapuram in Dammapet mandal on Tuesday protesting against what they called the missing of a retired mandal revenue officer, Mr.Balakrishna, who was deputed by Sakti organisation for helping them in the land-related cases in the scheduled area villages. The whereabouts of the retired official were not known since he was summoned to the mandal revenue office of Aswaraopet on August 18, said the protestors.|
|Land disputes: CM moots Khammam model|
|By our Special Correspondent
Hyderabad, Oct.4. - - The Hindu 5-10-1998
The Chief Minister, Mr.N.Chandrababu Naidu, has commended the Khammam model to resolve land disputes in the agency areas of West Godavari district.
He called a meeting of Ministers, MLAs from West Godavari, and senior officials at his residence late on Friday to discuss the ongoing dispute between tribal and non-tribal farmers over possession of land in agency areas. Some representatives of non-tribal farmers were also present.
Mr.Naidu referred to the experience in Khammam district where the problem was amicably settled between tribal and non-tribals and said it could be adopted in West Godavari district as well, according to a press note from the Chief Minister’s office.
In Khammam, a survey was being conducted in the presence of both parties and where farmers were found to be in possession of land without patta, such land was instantly distributed among the deserving tribals. Similarly, tribals agreed not to trespass into patta lands in possession of non-tribals.
Police and revenue departments were playing a crucial role in implementing the agreement.
Mr.Chandrababu Naidu asked the Minister for Agriculture, Mr.K.Vidyadhar Rao, and the Minister for Energy, Mr.Kalidindi Ramachandra Raju, who belong to West Godavari, to proceed to the agency areas of the district and strive for better understanding between non-tribals and tribals on the Khammam lines.
A special officer with powers of a revenue divisional officer would be posted to implement the decision and a special survey team would be appointed. Non-tribal farmers from the district who met the Chief Minister assured him all cooperation in implementing the decision.
Messrs. Thummala Nageswara Rao, Minister for Major Irrigation, who is credited with fashioning the Khammam understanding, G.Nagesh, Minister for Tribal Welfare, P.Singanna Dora, P.V.Krishna Rao, MLAs, K.Madhava Rao, Chief Secretary, and senior officials attended the meeting.
|Land row: Khammam has a long way to go|
|- The Hindu, Wednesday, October 28, 1998|
|By D.Chandra Bhaskar Rao
Aswaraopet (Khammam dt.) Oct.27.
In four months’ time over 3,000 acres of land was taken away from non-tribals and distributed to tribals. It is no mean achievement, claim the revenue officials involved in the land distribution exercise.
The administration’s approach to the tribal land issue was viewed as an ideal one. Hence the "Khammam model" is much talked about today and is projected as a fit case to be studied for handling a similar situation in neighboring West Godavari.
But the ground reality is that the land problem still persists. The district has to go a long way to find a permanent solution to the problem that cropped up because of the influx of non-tribals, land grabbing and fraudulent methods in land deals. It may take another five to six years to address the problem as per the legal provisions.
A senior official who played a vital role in handling the tribal-non tribal confrontation, said, "No great work was done. No great work was going to be done either. We have just succeeded in identifying the Government land in the enjoyment of non-tribes and giving it away to the landless tribes. The problem has been better managed so far."
The success of the administration as well as the law enforcing agencies lies only in checking the spread of the agitation to other parts of the district, particularly the Bhadrachalam revenue division where the land problem, particularly the violation of the scheduled area Regulation 1/70, is much more serious. The tribals who have resumed protests in the area, complaining that highly influence family which had acquired large extent of land in violation of the scheduled area regulations had not been touched till now. A few of such families surrendered lands ranging from one acre to five acres when it became unavoidable. The Revenue Department could distribute 1,468.15 acres of land to 669 tribal beneficiaries in Aswaraopet mandal and 1,150.23 acres to 625 beneficiaries in Dammapet mandal between July 19 and October 4, last.
|SUCCESS STORY OF TRIBAL LAND OCCUPANTS|
|- The Hindu 03-11-1998|
|By D.Chandra Bhaskar Rao
DAMMAPET(Khammam), Nov.2. The scenario is unusual of Telangana villages. The land lies verdant under the winter sun. The horticulture gardens and plantations stretch lushly on eithe side of the dusty roads. Doted with tiny brick structures a majority of them being farm houses and pump houses, the area represents a model of success achieved by furmers.
The prosperity of the peasant community in Dammapet and Aswaraopet owed to a decade of peace and unfaltering progress. But most of the successful farmers happened to be non-tribals who have come from neighbouring districts. They migrated, as an official aptly puts it, almost lock, stock and barrel. They have hardly anything left in their ancestral places to look back to their roots.
Having started from the scratch, they involved deeply in the development of lands that were neglected by the tribals. Some obtained the lands on lease while others preferred on outright purchase. But it was all in violation of the scheduled are regulation. The lands were so cheap that the tribals sold them for a song. There were instances wherein the lands were traded off for milch-animalks.
The cultivators of the lands included farmers from far-flung areas too. They improved the irrigation facilities. They changed the cropping pattern. But they failed to change the status of the land. The efforts made by them to legalise the land purchase cost them more than the value of the land. Many of them have obtained documents through questionable means. The moment validity of the documents is disproved, they would be subjected to eviction from the farms which they have nurtured so well and so long.
The tribals have been protesting against the occupation of their land by the non-tribes for quite some time. But it took years for them to come out with a serious demand for distribution of the occupied lands. They lacked the political support. "No political party, for that matter even the two communist parties that had been crying hoarse for land, had ever engaged an effective lawyer to plead for the tribes in the cases", pointed out a revenue official. The Government had done this.
He said all such parties had no right to interfere in the land issue. So far as the Congress-I is concerned, the leaders are divided on the issue of scheduled area lands. The local M.P.Mr.Nadendla Bhaskar Rao, supports the demand for an amendment to the scheduled area regulation 1/70. Such an amendment would help regularise the land deals effected in violation of the regulation.
But a former Minister Mr.Jalagam Prasada Rao, opposes such an amendment for his own reasons. He wants an amicable solution to the problem without displacing either the tribes or the non-tribes. But today neither the tribes or the non-tribes. But today neither the tribes nor the non-tribes could draw the support of Congress-I leaders as no leader was available locally. The CPI(M) which had for few years been trying to consolidate its position in the area could make little headway in the direction.
Failing to get local cadres for the special assignment of land agitation, the party had drafted cadres from Bhadrachalam and Khammam areas. Despite years of work, they still remained outsiders for the tribes of the Dammapet and Aswaraopet area. Their presence was hardly felt in the villages of tribal non-tribal conflict. The SAKTI organisation enjoys a distinct advantage over other organisations in the area. It had only a few volunteers working on the land issue in the two mandals.
But they all happened to be from among the tribes and continued to live with them. They could mobilise more support from the local people. Despite a split in the cadres of the organisation, the volunteers had all been working with one objective. The administration is happy with the fact that the volunteers of SAKTI are preoccupied with the survey of land and verification of documents’ progress in the two mandals. Otherwhile, their disruptive potential could stall the process.
The administration is equally thankful to the local leadership of the ruling Telugu Desam Party, particularly the Minister for Major irrigation. Mr.Tummala Nageswara Rao, for giving a free hand to both revenue machinery and the law enforcing agencies in dealing with the land related cases. The Minister had so far been playing it safe by staying away from the cases wherein land alienation is warranted.
The stage has been set for the takeover of Government land from two important leaders who had been closely identified with the ruling party in the division. Both cases are likely to yield about 45 acres of land in Ranguvarigudem and Malkaram villages. The alienation is going to be effected with the tacit approval of those in power. About 250 to 300 acres would be made available for distribution in Dammapet mandal for distribution in the next round. The Minister was expected to distribute pattas for the land on November 4.
The administration had its own strategy for dealing with the land transfer regulation (LTR) cases. A total of 2274 cases, involving 9,197 acres of land, are pending in the district. Nearly, 160 of them are in the Agent’s (district collector) court. In Dammapet and Aswaraopet mandals alone as much as 1083 acre of land is involved in the LTR cases.
|RALLY BY TRIBALS FOR NON-TRIBALS’ CAUSE?|
|- The Hindu 03-03-1999|
|By Our Staff Reporter
Bhadrachalam, March 2. The ‘Atavi Pranta Girijana Sangham’ Organised a big tribal rally here on Monday evening with a slogan that had little to do with the tribes.
Streams of people who came from the remote areas, waving red flags and banners, took part in the rally that was spearheaded by the CPI(M) leadership. As the usual practice required, the main demand in a tribal rally organised in association with the Marxists should be protection to the tribes becoming victims of the flawed implementation of the scheduled area regulation 1/70.
But the focus of the rally was otherwise. It was more a demonstration of support for the small non-tribal farmers tilling lands- which are not legally theirs in the scheduled area villages. The rallyists wanted exemption for the non-tribal farmers with five (wet) to ten (dry) acres of land from the scheduled area norms.
The demand was indicative of the CPI (M)’s change in the stand and its effort to woo non-tribes. It was keen on dispelling the fears harboured by the non-tribal farmers about the party stand on the regulation 1/70. The CPI(M) is the only party which opposed the demand for amending the regulation which has put a blanket ban on the enjoyment of the tribal land by the non-tribes and paid a price for it.
|POLICE RELEASE TRIBAL LEADER
Tribals stage rasta roko in Achyutapuram in Khammam District.
|By Our Staff Reporter:
Khammam, June 18. In a swift operation, police forces which reached the Achyutapuram village from all divisions of Khammam district early on Thursday, quelled the tribal protesters and secured the release of the Palvancha Revenue Divisional Officer, Ms.Suryakumari, and the Sub Divisional Police Officer of Sathupally, Mr.N.Venkateswara Rao who were held hostage in the protest camp throughout the night.
They also set free the tribal leader, Mr.S.Chandrasekhar who had for the last one week been in police custody. He was handed over to the protesters in the presence of the Superintendent of Police, Mr.P.S.R.Anjaneyulu. And other officials present on the spot around 5 a.m. They cleared the road traffic which was blocked for over 20 hours in the Rajahmundry-Aswraopet-Hyderabad highway.
The tribals, who were in a defiant mood, refused to give up the protest without a positive assurance from the district administration on their demand for distribution of Government land identified in the occupation of non-tribals. But the Superintendent of Police disallowed discussion on any issue other than the release of Mr.Chandrasekhar.
He assured the tribals to arrange a meeting with the officials concerned for a detailed discussion on the land related problems at Kodipandaladibba village on June 22. After repeated warnings, the police forces swung into action and made the tribals to leave the road point. Leaders of SAKTI, Mr.S.Venkateswalu, Mr.P.Ramesh, Mr.T.Jagadeeswar Rao, condemned the police action.
Describing it as an attempt to undermine the tribal rights which were sought to be safeguarded under Regulation 1/70, they questioned the need for meting out such rough treatment to the tribal leader. Mr.Chandrasekhar. The police have kept tab oin the SAKTI activists in the area for the past three months. They arranged meetings between the tribal leaders and the district Minister in a bid to resolve the land issue.
Mr.Chandrasekhar, who was involved in mobilising the tribals on the land issue kept on avoiding the police. Annoyed by his disregard to their summons, the local police picked him up from his village and detained him at the district headquarters for questioning. As the police did not give them any information on his whereabouts, the tribals took recourse to agitation.
|District Administration allowed tribals to copy land records and proposed village committees to participate in the verification
MINUTES OF THE ALL POLITICAL PARTIES MEETING HELD ON 12-2-99 KHAMMAM
Present : Sri Mohd. Ali Rafatn, I.A.S.,
Joint Collector, Khammam.
|A meeting with the above representatives of all Political Parties was convened on 12-2-1999. At the out-set, the Joint Collector emphasised the representatives of all Political parties about the Plan of Action going to be adopted, keeping in view the past experience, and also keeping in view the recent developments that have taken place in the Tribal and Non-tribal agitation in Dammapeta and Aswaraopeta Mandals. The representatives of Political parties were supplied the proposed Plan of Action to sort out the land disputes in Dammapeta and Aswaraopeta Mandals and requested to give suggestions for necessary modifications in the proposed action plan.
The Joint Collector also informed about the formation of District Level Committee, Mandal Level Committee and Village Level Committees, that are going to be formed and functions and powers of such committees. All the representatives were requested to furnish the names of the persons to be in Dist. Level Committee, Mandal Level Committee and Village Level Committees consist of only local level members for mandal and village Level committees respectfully.
It was also informed that Asst. Director, Survey and Land Records, Khammam was preparing the maps of Government lands along with details of encroachers. The details of encroachments on Govt. lands can also be verified from Mandal Revenue Officer’s Office and these records will be kept in the minds of public or others.
The next District Level Review meeting is fixed tentatively on 25-2-98 and exact meeting date will be communicated shortly.
-Joint Collector, Khammam
|Commissioner Tribal Welfare instructed District Collector, Khammam to take over the FDC cashew plantations citing the judjement of High Court delivered in SAKTI case quashing mining leases
GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Smt.M.Chayaratan, I.A.S., The Disdtrict Collector,
Commissioner of Tribal Welfare,
|The A.P.Forest Development Corporation Limited which is an undertaking of Government of Andhra Pradesh also consitutes a ‘person’ Since the A.P.Forest Developmetn Corporation Limited, is not expressly exempted from the operation of A.P.Scheduled Areas Land Transfer Regulation, 1959 the provisions of Regulation 1 of 1959 will also apply to the operations of A.P. Forest Development Corporation Limited, in Scheduled Areas. In view of the definition of the immovable property under the said Regulation which includes standing crops the open auctions, of A.P. Forest Development Corporation Limited in which the right to collect and remove cashew usufruct from cashew plantations situated in Naramvarigudem village of Aswaraopet Mandal Situated in Scheduled area are null and void under Sectio 3(i) (a) of A.P. Scheduled Areas Land Transfer Regulation, 1959.|
|- Commissioner of Tribal Welfare|
|CM orders distribution of land of Sattupalli to tribals|
|- The Hindu, Saturday, June 12, 1999|
By our Staff Reporter
The Chief Minister, Mr. N.Chandrababu Naidu, has ordered distribution of 1,600 acres of land at Sattupalli in Khammam district owned by the A.P.Forest Development Corporation to tribals immediately after acquiring it from a private party which is enjoying it on the strength of a lease deed.
Mr. Naidu was speaking to the Project Directors and Joint Collectors at a teleconference here on Friday. The Sattupalli land figured when the Project Director of Palwancha in Khammam district complained that the land was occupied by tribals in the area. The Chief Minister who appeared irked at the attitude of the officials, asked him to distribute the land to the girijans by cancelling the lease. He could launch legal proceedings if the situation so warranted, Mr. Naidu said, insisting on distribution through Vana Samarakshna Samitis.
|KHAMMAM TRIBALS ON WARPATH|
|- The Hindu, December 18, 1999|
|By our Staff Reporter
KHAMMAM, DEC.17. The tribals of Aswaraopet and Dammapet who had all the time been fighting non-tribals for the scheduled area lands under illegal occupation, are now aiming their barbs against the Forest Development Corporation (FDC).
When the land agitation was at its height, the tribals were pacified by the Government by assuring them of rights over the crop from the cashew plantation of the Forest Development Corporation at Naramvarigudem in Aswaraopet mandal which is extended over an area of 1600 acres.
The tribals, who are landless, in fact pinned high hopes on the plantation which was about two decades old. The corporation had earlier sanctioned licences to collect the cashew fruit even to non-tribal contractors. Since such a leasing system was violative of the Scheduled Area Regulation 1/70, the tribal welfare department insisted on the sanction of the licences to collect the cashew fruit to the tribals.
Keen on ensuring a fair deal to the tribals who had already been on the rampage in the area, the Government sought to hand over the cashew plantation to the landless tribals of the area by forming Vana Samrakshna Samitis (VSS). The District Minister, Mr.Tummala Nageswara Rao, made an assurance to this effect before the election. The tribals had so far been under the impression that their enjoyment of the cashew crop would be in accordance with other schemes prepared by the administration to find a solution to the land issue.
But much to their dismay, the Government in its order (G.O.Rt.No.523 issued by the Department of Environment and Forests on December 1) wanted the tribal beneficiaries to be formed into a tribal cooperative. The cooperative should pay the Forest Development Corporation an amount which would not be less than the average price obtained by the Forest Development Corporation during the past three years to get the right for collection of the cashew crop.
The tribal beneficiaries were in for a rude shock to know that they had to pay about Rs.22 lakhs this year for getting the crop collection rights. Besides this, the cooperative was asked to share the benefit of the general inflaction with the Forest Development Corporation by enhancing the rates from year to year, so that the income of the Forest Development Corporation would not remain static.
The tribals are quite unhappy because the plantation was already quite old and the yield was expected to come down drastically after the next five years. There are over 900 landless tribal families in the villages around Naramvarigudem and their economic status will in no way permit them to go in for a deal involving such huge licence amount. It would ultimately be the burden of the Integrated Tibal Development Agency (ITDA) which had already been funneling large amounts for the development of over 3000 acres of land assigned to tribals last year in the two mandals.
The tribals were unhappy also because only 1200 acres of the cashew plantation is going to be handed over to their cooperative, against the total 1600 acres promised to them earlier.
The Forest Development Corporation had justified its stand on the plea that the plantation was raised and maintained at a huge cost. The tribals contend that the Corporation had already made good all its investment and there was no need to treat them in the same business interest with which it had dealt all those who collected the crop so far.
|dwcra women want royalty
paid on cashew grove
|- Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, March 10, 2002|
|From Our Bureau:
Khammam, March 9: Differences came to the fore between the officials of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency and the Forest Development Corporation over the payment of royalty on 1,600 acre cashew grove situated at Naramvari gudem in Dammapet mandal of the District.
As many as 532 tribal Dwcra women, who were enjoying the produce, were assured by Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, at a public meeting that the lands would be handed over to them. The Forest Development Corporation raised a cashew grove in 1,600 acre government land 15 years ago and was marketing cashew nuts every year. Later, the corporation refused to hand over the land to the tribals saying that it was against the Forest Act. But the district administration insisted on the land transfer and argued that the cashew grove was located where 1/1970 Act was in vogue. Then, the administration and the corporation came to an understanding on the issue. According to the understanding, the ITDA was to pay a royalty on the grove every year according to the market rate.
The ITDA paid Rs.25 lakh royalty to the corporation in the first year and handed over the crop to tribal Dwcra groups. The ITDA. As a nodal agency, supervised the production and sale of the crop. The profit accrued was being distributed to the 532 Dwcra women. The ITDA did not face any problem regarding the payment of royalty and giving away the profit to women in the first year. But, in the second and third year, the Agency did not get the royalty amount as it was paid to the FDC due to fall in price of cashew nuts. On the other hand, Dwcra women insisted that the Agency pay their wages at least. Under the circum-stances, the ITDA owed Rs.12 lakh royalty to the corporation. As a result, the ITDA made a new proposal that the revenue should be distributed between the Dwcra groups and the corporation in a ratio of 80:20 and the district administration sent it to the government for approval. But the Forest Development Corporation rejected the proposal and the Dwcra women appealed to the CM to pay the royalty.
The leasing of plantations raised by FDC to the weaker sections had been under the active consideration of the government. But so far nothing materialised.
1. "The Managing Director, Scheduled Caste Corporation is requested to report on the discussions, he had with the Managing Director, Forest Development Corporation regarding the leasing of Cashew Gardens to the Scheduled Castes Members."
- Action: Social Welfare Department; M.D., S.C.Corporation.
Minutes of Inter Departmental Standing Official Committee Meeting held on 11-5-1992 – Communicated.
- Memo No.11997/For, III/92-1, Dated:29-5-1992 – Energy, Forestes, Environment, Science & Technology Department. Govt.of AP.
CHINTALAPUDI - With ban forcing the People's War Group Naxalites out of the scene and surprisingly the CPI disappearing, it was a contractors' day. Both PWG and CPI have agitated for over six years for the poorman's right over collecting cashewnuts in the agency area.
Under the watchful eyes of police, contractors' men started picking cashewnuts in the reserve forest area near here. It may be recalled that the contractors had been prevented by the Naxalites from collecting cashewnuts.
The PWG has been arguing that it is the poor man's right to collects same. Hence several police pickets has been set up in the area near Barrikonda reserve forest near Kamavarapu Kota and Ramasingaram.
The forest Department reared these cashew growers with World Bank aid. As the cashew groves started giving yields, the contractors came forward and put highest bids for collecting them.
Meanwhile, the PWG Naxalites entered the scene and provoked the poor to collect cashewnuts. As a result, contractors suffered heavy losses.
The agitation which started in 1986, continued till 1992 and had become a challenge to the police and the contractors. Police arrested several leaders for participating in the agitation and employed all their known methods.
Meanwhile, the CPI also stated participating in the agitation. Following a suggestion by the Forest Department it formed poormen's societies. They also collected some share capital from them. However, soon differences cropped up between the PWG and the CPI.
When the Government banned the PWG in 1992, many leaders surrendered to the police.
As the agitation has weakened, contractors once again entered the scene and bid for cashewnuts. Keeping in view the past experience, they sought police protection.
In a nutshell, it was a victory for the district police force.
- Express News Service - Wednesday, April 14, 1993
|CPI leader defends CM’s afforestation scheme
From our staff Reporter
|- The Hindu February 4th 1996|
The CPI State Council Secretary, Mr.Dasari Nagabhushana Rao on Saturday defended the Chief Minister. Mr.N.Chandrababu Naidu’s announcement on taking up afforestation programme on degraded forest lands.
He said the afforestation programme would be formally launched by the Chief Minister in Krishna district on February 11 followed by Kurnool on February 21 and Visakhapatnam on February 22. At all these places the CPI workers would participate in the programme in a big way and mobilise youth.