‘Polluting industries making our lives miserable’

Resentment is brewing among fishermen all along the coast over fall in catch due to industrial pollution.

Faced with threat of further displacement due to large projects contemplated as part of the Petroleum, Chemical, Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR), fishermen are up in arms against land acquisition by the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation.

Pollution caused by various industries has also led to washing ashore tonnes of dead fish at Parawada leading to the allegation that ‘untreated’ effluents released from Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City are poisoning the catch.

“We know only fishing and nothing else. Our displacement has shattered our lives and dwindling catch is a matter of concern as the project proponent is avoiding giving us jobs,” says Duda Nookaraju, a fisherman injured in the stone-pelting after CISF opened fire in the air to quell a mob that demanded jobs in NTPC during a protest at Tikkavanipalem recently.

Dwindling catch had triggered violent protests not only at NTPC Simhadri Super Thermal Power Station on several occasions but also at Brandix India Apparel City, Pharma City and Hinduja National Power Corporation’s power plant at Palavalasa.

“Pollution caused by chemical units is making our life miserable. We are experiencing suffocation, respiratory, skin and abdominal pain and rashes all over the body,” says Jeetu Srinu, a youth of Tadi village. He is one among many who are demanding relocation of the residents from Tadi and nearby areas.

Hetero Drugs, which set up a Special Economic Zone near Nakkapalli, is also under attack from fishermen for polluting their area. “The level of pollution in these areas is very high making it difficult for fishermen to earn their livelihood,” says K. Appala Raju, general secretary, AP Fishermen and Fisheries Workers’ Union.

He says that fishermen will register their opposition at grama sabhas to be held for getting approval for the proposed Visakhapatnam-Kakinada PCPIR.

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