‘Prajavani’, an official outlet for redressal of public grievances, on Monday felt the heat of complaints on the alleged nexus between the officials and the aqua lobbies in conversion of paddy fields into fishponds in the delta region.

Farmers from Undi mandal petitioned Joint Collector T. Baburao Naidu with a request to save their paddy fields from the rapid and haphazard expansion of aquaculture. Dhatla Sriramamurthy Raju and Guttula Nageswara Rao from Unudurru village panchayat of the Undi mandal complained that earthmovers were working overnight for conversion of 80 acres of agricultural lands under an irrigation canal near Mahadevapatnam and Upparagudem, hamlets of their village panchayat. The fish lobbies allegedly engaged touts to lobby with the officials concerned for permissions to take up aquaculture in the particular area, they alleged. They cautioned that accordance of permission for aquaculture in the particular hamlets which did not have proper drainage outlets might render a huge extent of 600 acres of agricultural fields in the nearby, unfit for paddy cultivation. Such an action would also cause a serious threat to drinking water sources and ecology in their village, they added.

Meanwhile, a delegation of leaders from the Andhra Pradesh Rytu Sangham of the CPI (M), Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Karmika Sangham of the CPI and the MCPI-affiliated Rytu Coolie Sangham requested the Joint Collector to keep the GO Ms. No. 7 in abeyance as ‘it breeds corruption and spells disaster for paddy fields’. It may be recalled that the Prajavani programme witnessed similar complaints from the farmers on the same issue last Sunday also.

Meanwhile, the Joint Collector warned that action would be initiated against the mandal Tahsildar and the personnel from the Fisheries Department, if they failed to act tough and stall the attempts for conversion of farm fields in Undi area forthwith.