Villagers’ protest against shifting of Anakapalle municipality’s garbage dumping yard took a serious turn on Wednesday afternoon when 20 villagers and others supporting them were taken into custody at Achayyapeta under Sundarayyapeta Panchayat, a few kilometres from Anakapalle.

Even as the police took the men into custody, women of the village continued their dharna and the municipality’s tractor was not allowed to proceed.

The villagers intensified their protest from Tuesday when they gheraoed Municipal Commissioner S. Muralidhara Rao and stopped the municipal vehicles from entering the area marked for the dumping yard. The protest continued on Wednesday and the police took away 20 villagers.

Secretary of the AP Vyavasaya Vrittidarula Union P.S. Ajay Kumar and CPI(M) district leader Balakrishna were held outside the office of Deputy Superintendent of Police V.S.R. Murthy after they explained to him the order issued by a Division Bench of the High Court, in response to a petition filed by villagers around Machilipatnam, Ongole and Bhimavaram on shifting of dumping yards of these municipalities to their villages, saying that no municipality or Nagarapalika can dump its garbage outside its municipal limits and that no Collector or the Chief Commissioner of Land Acquisition should allot land for municipal dumping yard in villages outside the municipal limits.

The gram panchayat did not give its consent to locate the dumping yard in the village nor has the AP Pollution Control Board given permission to the dumping yard, said the villagers.

Collector V. Sheshadri, when contacted, said the land was handed over to the municipality in 2007 and village Sarpanch K. Lakshmi, on behalf of the villagers secured a stay order from the High Court in 2008.

When the stay was vacated next year, the villagers filed an appeal with the Chief Justice who after due consideration dismissed it in November 2011, and asked the Municipal Commissioner and the Collector to give a report in four weeks. The Municipal Commissioner submitted a report in April 2012 saying that the dumping yard was one kilometre away from the main village and the court also accepted the report.

The municipality decided to go ahead with shifting the dumping yard to the village after taking the opinion of the Government Pleader.

Mr. Sheshadri said measures like digging pits to deposit the garbage to avoid inconvenience to the people should be taken.

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