Tension that prevailed all through Thursday at Achayyapeta village, a few kilometres from Anakapalle, as the villagers continued their protest against Anakapalle Municipality’s move to convert a site in the village into a garbage dumping yard, eased a bit around 8 p.m. when municipal and revenue officials withdrew from the village along with a large police force.
Since morning the villagers did not allow the municipal officials from dumping garbage brought in eight tractors. Municipal Commissioner S. Muralidhara Rao and Tahsildar of Anakapalle could not proceed with their task as the villagers did not budge from their stand. Support for the villagers increased as people from Venkupalem, Sampatipalem, Kondram, Kunchangi, Vetajangalapalem and Rongulavanipalem and from the BRT Colony and the Dalita Bahujana Colony and Scheduled Tribes people from Krishnapuram, came to Achayyapeta.
The villagers alleged that Minister for Infrastructure and Investments Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who represents Anakapalle in the Assembly was behind the move to force the dumping yard on their village, forgetting his election promise that he would find a solution. The dumping yard was being shifted from Anakapalle town because real estate value around it had shot up, the villagers alleged.
They asked why the police took away 20 of them on Wednesday (who were let off around 10 p.m.) for protesting against the dumping yard while no action was taken against those in Anakapalle town when they prevented garbage from being dumped at the officially demarcated dumping yard in Sarada Nagar in the town.
“Dumping yard is being forced on us because we are villagers and illiterate? Town people cannot bear the stench of garbage but we have to live with it?” they asked.
The villagers insisted that the ruling given by the Division Bench of High Court, in response to petitions filed against three municipalities, barring municipalities from dumping garbage outside the municipal limits of a town was meant for the entire State while the Municipal officials said it was intended only for the municipalities that faced the petitions.
When the villagers and general secretary of AP Vyavasaya Vrittidarula Union P.S. Ajay Kumar pointed out that the Gram Panchayat or the AP Pollution Control Board did not give consent to the dumping yard, the officials told the villagers to approach a court (presumably to stop them from going ahead with shifting the dumping yard).
As the officials were not helpful to them, the villagers demanded that the Collector visit the village and verify the judgements given by the High Court.
The protest continued and the officials finally left around 8 p.m. “The officials and police have left for the day. But we don’t know what happens tomorrow”, said Mr. Ajay Kumar.
The CPI and CPI(M) condemned the officials’ attitude towards the villagers and taking some of them into custody on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, women from the colonies around the Sarada Nagar dumping yard performed puja at a Vinayaka temple wishing great future to Mr. Ganta Srinivasa Rao who they said had solved the problem related to the compost yard by making sincere efforts.
Mr. Srinivasa Rao participated in some official programmes at Anakapalle and Kasimkota mandals after holding a review meeting on activities in the Anakapalle Assembly segment.