As Telangana goes into the polls, all eyes are on Gajwel, the constituency of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, from where he is seeking re-election.
KCR has developed Gajwel as a model mandal, but there is anger among people of 14 villages who are being forced out of their homes due to the Mallanasagar irrigation project. Others are disappointed by the lack of jobs. In a way, Gajwel mirrors what has happened in the whole of Telangana — a little development, lots of sops and many unfulfilled promises.
Gajwel town has seen a lot of change since 2014 and most areas now have good roads. In the villages, a majority of homes have got drinking water connections in the past three years. The newly-built 100-bed district government hospital on Gajwel-Pregnapur Road is being showcased as a model hospital. A new residential school for minority students has come up on Toopran Road apart from the Government Model Residential Polytechnic. Some of the first 2 bedroom houses promised by KCR to eligible families have been allotted at Narsannapet village. More than 1,200 2BHKs have been given away in the constituency.
“Facilities at the new hospital are better than those at a private hospital. A patient suffering from even serious illness does not have to go anywhere else,’’ said S D Shyam, a pharmacist. Dharavath Ganesh, an autorickshaw driver and beneficiary of a 2 BHK house, says the house has drinking water and uninterrupted power supply. Gajwel also boasts of a newly built air-conditioned auditorium, and an education hub.
G Malleshu, sarpanch of Erravalli village, which has been adopted by the CM, says, “This village transformed drastically after KCR adopted it. Around 500 families received 2 BHK homes with all facilities.’’ However, KCR’s farmhouse in the village with its high walls topped with razorwire fencing and security posts is seen as a symbol of the inaccessibility of the CM. “KCR spends a lot of time in the farmhouse but does not meet people. People like freebies but what they really want are jobs and that is where KCR has failed,’’ says Congress candidate Vanteru Pratap Reddy.
About 900 families in three villages that are going to be affected by the irrigation reservoir are angry. Singaram, Thipparam and Eraveli villages have approximately 2,000 voters. “Our lands will be submerged due to the reservoir. Some of the villagers want to give away the land if adequate compensation is offered, but others don’t want to part with their ancestral land. The government held talks with the villagers only once. KCR is inaccessible,’’ a landowner from Singaram said. Besides these, there are six villages which are going to be affected due to the irrigation canals. “There are approximately 20,000 voters in these villages and they are angry with KCR,” a village elder said.
Explained: KCR projects home base as model, why all do not agree
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has developed his home constituency it as a model mandal but not all are happy. People affected by irrigation projects are angry because their land is being taken away. That the government is said to be offering compensation at the rate of Rs 6 lakh per acre, as against the market rate of Rs 50 lakh per acre, has not gone down well. There are also complaints of threats and intimidation by land agents. The Chief Minister is not easily accessible, an added grievance of the people. He has been generous with sops, but needs to do much more to meet the expectations of his constituency.