The state government had issued GO MS No 123 in July 2015 to facilitate speedy procurement of land and other properties by agencies and departments for public purposes from willing land owners. Harish Rao asserted that the provisions in the GO were well within the new Land Acquisition Act.
Under the GO, district collectors are empowered to acquire land from willing persons after getting requisitions from departments with details such as extent of land. A committee headed by the collector will ascertain the willingness of the land owners for the sale. The compensation will include value of land or property and the equivalent cost of rehabilitation and resettlement.
Meanwhile, impromptu celebrations erupted at Gandhi Bhavan, the Telangana Congress headquarters, with some party workers burning copies of the GO and setting off firecrackers. State Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy said the party welcomes the high court decision and described the development as a victory for farmers and farm labourers.
“The government tried to muzzle us by arresting our party leaders who supported the villagers affected by Mallannasagar project. The government must realize that it is always democracy that wins,” he said.
Prof M Kodandaram, Telangana Joint Action Committee chairman, also said that the court decision should come as an eye-opener to the government, which should mend its ways and take decisions that will help the people of the state.
The Telangana BJP too welcomed the decision and said that at least now, the government should embrace the Land Acquisition Act of 2013.
TDP’s A Revanth Reddy said the court had “delivered yet another slap on the government’s face and a lesson to irrigation minister T Harish Rao, who, with the government machinery, was trying to intimidate the people of the project-affected villages to part with their land as per GO 123 provisions.”