A caravan of Human Rights Forum activists flagged off

The Visakhapatnam-Kakinada Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region is being promoted without the consent of the affected residents, former Union secretary E.A.S. Sarma pointed out.

Speaking after flagging off the four day two-vehicle caravan of the Human Rights Forum activists here on Friday, Mr. Sarma said it was unfortunate that the government was going ahead with the notification of the plan despite opposition from the people. In a democracy people were the rulers and their interests have to be considered and safeguarded.

The proposed region would destroy natural resources, including water bodies, apart from thousands of acres of fertile farmlands would be replaced by industries. Worse, the effluents from these industries would not only pollute the surface but also contaminate ground water. The water bodies would either disappear or be contaminated making the water unfit for either irrigation or consumption, he noted.

The caravan carrying 20 activists would travel through 10 mandals of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts in four days and try and sensitise people on the risks involved in indiscriminate industrialisation, HRF State secretary V S Krishna explained. The team would stop in at least 75 villages that would be affected and try and increase the awareness of the people to the problems.

“We are not against development but against the move that threatens to rob livelihoods of the residents in the coastal region. In fact in many villages the panchayat has passed a resolution rejecting the move,” Mr Krishna explained.

Bait of jobs

The bait of lakhs of jobs that would be created by the industrialisation is a lie, the employment that would be created would not be for the locals but for outsiders, Mr Sarma asserted. The Government has gone overboard in promoting PCPIR for the benefit of few industrialists, a refinery that is proposed to be set up in the region is actually relocating a condemned refinery from the US, he said and pointed out the environmental risks associated with the outdated technology. The caravan comprised president of Paryavarana Parirakshana Sangham of Sompeta Y. Krishna Murthy, apart from environmental activists, including J. Ratnam.

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