The Chenchu tribes of Nallamalla forest firmly refused to vacate their pentas (habitations) at any cost.
“We will end our lives in our huts but would not vacate them let the sky break down,” was the response of Chenchus of Pilligundu penta, tribal habitation of 25 Chenchu families in Nallamalla forest area, when Bharatiya Janata Party former State president and National Executive Member Bandaru Dattatreya asked them whether they would vacate their pentas and shift to plain areas on Monday.
Mr. Dattatreya along with BJP State Executive member Vanam Jhansi and State vice-president Vanaja and other party leaders visited Pilligundu penta area in Amrabad mandal against the backdrop of government's efforts to shift Chenchu tribes from the Nallamala forest area to towns and major gram panchayat village to bring them into civil society.
The government offered two types of packages to them. Rs.10 lakh compensation for each family for vacating their pentas located in Nallmala forests and settle down in a nearby town or a pacca house and two to three acres of land in a nearby major gram panchayat village. Dattatraya, while interacting with Pilligunda penta Chenchus asked them whether they were aware of the packages offered to them by the government for vacating the pentas. In reply, they said him that they were not aware of it.
On questioning whether they were ready to accept the packages offered to them and leave the pentas forever to shift to plains. To this, they said in unison that they prefer to end their lives in their pentas rather than migrating to plains. Dattatreya told them that his party would stand in support of them and thwart the efforts of the government to shift them from their pentas. “Come what may you don't leave your pentas. We will stand behind you in your fight with the government against shifting proposal,” he told them.
Dattatraya criticised that the government was trying to destroy the culture and way of living of Chenchu for the sake of multinational companies like De Beers.
He warned of serious consequences, if government failed to withdraw the Reconnaissance permits in Nallamala forest area to De Beers India limited to explore the diamonds and other precious minerals.