On 5th March 2014, the National Human Rights Commission considered the issue of non- reclamation of the persons displaced because of the Polavaram Dam construction across river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, undertaking with the continuation of the earlier commission meeting dated on 23rd January 2014 for the same issue.
Despite the Principal Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Irrigation & CAD Department (PW R&R) was supervised to acknowledge the complete report on all the issues involved in 4 weeks, but yet there was no report has been received. Therefore, they may be reminded to submit the report within four weeks. The report shall particularly deal with the relevancy of the Rights of Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013 to the lands where people were displaced.
In the mean time, Dr. P.Pulla Rao, Polavaram, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh submitted a representation dated 1st March 2014 about the harassment of tribal of Polavaram Mandal in West Godavari District. It is supposed that the tribal residing in the area are sought to be effectively evicted from the place for the Polavaram Dam construction across Godavari. Also it is often doubtful that the district administration has addressed to forcible steps to throw out the people by denying medical facilities, cutting off water and electricity supply, closing down all the ration shops and school as well. Furthermore, it is alleged that district administration has made Devaragondhi Village unlivable by resorting such violation of Human Rights. In spite of such violation, it is alleged that the tribal continue to live there.
On 2nd December 2013, a vigilante of policemen and some guards of contractors went to Devaragondhi and its nearby villages and demolished schools, cut off electricity and water supply, primary health centre and also warned tribal that they will have to live in medieval times. Additionally the District Collector had really ordered the Engineer (Technical) Operation Circle, Eluru to Smt. Varasa Jogamma, wife of Kannayya, Devaragondhi, Polavaram Mandal stating that, it was accepted by the Superintending (Operation) Engineer, Eluru and Divisional Engineer/ Operation/J.R, Devaragondhi that the problem with the electricity supply arose as per the oral instructions of the District Collector, West Godavari District.
Dr. P.Pulla Rao has produced a copy of letter dated 10th February 2014 written by the Chief Vigilance Officer and Deputy Secretary to Revenue (Vig.III) Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh to the Collector, West Godavari Dictrict enclosing the letters dated 1st December 2013 and 12th December 2013 sent by and appealing the Collector to get the matter inquired into and take necessary steps as per rules in force.
However in spite of Government instruction, the Collector has not taken any step to redress the complaints of the tribal and continues to harass them. In addition, Dr. Rao produced a letter dated 14th February 2014 sent by the Secretary of Andhra Pradesh State Commission for women to the District Collector of West Godavari citing to a intimation filed by K.Vara Lakshmi and others from Polavaram about the alleged physical harassment and assault.
It is clearly mention in the letter that while the complaint was forwarded to the Collector with a clear direction to inspect the matter and to send a report to the APWC, there was no report send by the District Collector. The request has been once again submitted by the Secretary, Andhra Pradesh State Commission for women to the Collector to inspect the matter and take necessary steps at his end and also file the action taken report prior to 4th March 2014.
In case, Dr. P. Pullao Rao facts are true and serious violations of Human Rights are taking place under the cover of Polavaram Dam Construction, it would appear that to force the people including tribal to vacate their land, the District Collector of West Godavari District is addressing to forcible actions like closing down the schools and health care centre, evicting the rations hoops and cutting off the electricity and water supply to the villagers. Even the letters sent by the Chief vigilance officer and Deputy Secretary to the District Collector of West Godavari to the Revenue Department and the Secretary of Andhra Pradesh State Commission of women have not induced any response from the Collector.
Hence a serious matter has risen warranting the immediate intervention of this Commission to prevent the further violation of Human Rights of the persons concerned. Therefore the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh and the District Collector, West Godavari District shall be directed to abstain from taking coercive actions against the tribal and to force the people of Polavaram Mandal to leave their lands. He shall also be directed to submit a report in the matter within the four weeks. The representation copy dated 1st March 2014 along with enclosures submitted by Dr. P. Pullao Rao shall be forwarded to the Chief Secretary, West Godavari District.
Approaching the serious nature of the alleged violations of Human Rights and since the Government of Andhra Pradesh did not submit a complete report as earlier requested, the Director General (investigation) is required to depute a team to visit the area immediately and to submit a factual report within 4 weeks.
It is requested, therefore that the additional or complete report as supposed by the Commission in the matter be sent latest by 9th April 2014 for further consideration by the National Human Rights Commission.