Grabbers eye graveyard near Kazipet in Warangal

After complete encroachment of a 17-acre Kakatiyan era tank in Somidi area in Kazipet in municipal division 35 by dividing it into plots for sale, politically-connected local encroachers have targeted a graveyard near this once beautiful water body.

In all the 53 municipal divisions under Warangal Municipal Corporation (WMC), Somidi area with a population of 6,000 in division No. 35 shares notoriety for encroachment menace along with municipal divisions 29, 30 and 31, where groups of encroachers have occupied the Bandham Cheruvu tank bed in different phases.

Spread over 18 guntas, the Somidi graveyard has become a cause of disagreement between a group of politically-backed encroachers and those who have buried their near and dear ones with the former obstructing efforts of WMC officials to construct a compound wall around the graveyard.

In both the cases, locals especially the Yadav, Goud and the washerman community sections are blaming a family of politicians belonging to Somidi area for allegedly playing a key role in the encroachment of the Kakatiyan era water body and the graveyard. “Since the encroachers are backed by family members belonging to both ruling Congress and the main opposition Telugu Desam in key posts, there was no opposition when the entire 17-acre water tank area was encroached on the ground or when the compound wall planned by the WMC was obstructed,” said a local.

Incidentally, the Warangal West MLA D. Vinay Bhaskar visited these two disputed spots with a large group of Somidi residents on Wednesday to gain firsthand knowledge about the encroachment that took place in the area.

Both the encroachment of the tank and the disputed graveyard, which were originally government lands in survey number 250 until 1982 before being made to disappear with the creation of a new survey number, presently commands a price of Rs.50-60 lakh per acre in the open market.

Surprisingly, despite visible evidence in the form of sculpted figures of Nandi on the granite sluice gate on the Kakatiyan era water body, the authorities did not dare to even put up a warning board at the site.

When contacted, the WMC commissioner Vivek Yadav blamed lack of coordination among WMC, irrigation and revenue departments for failing to prevent encroachment of used and unused water bodies.

“It is the job of irrigation department to demarcate land of water bodies while revenue authorities point out survey numbers. Our job is only to give permission for layouts and building permissions,” he said, adding that only three summer drinking water storage tanks come under their direct control.