Sompeta, a small town in Srikakulam district, is under the grip of fear and tension following clashes between the protestors and police forcing the authorities to dispatch a contingent of 1,500 armed personnel from other places.
The tension reached its peak when injured civilians and constables were admitted to same government hospital in the town. Agitators raised slogans against the government and police for the police firing and killing of innocent people.
They ransacked the nearby office of Nagarjuna Construction Company which is planning to set up 2640 MW power project near Baruva. The mob pelted stones, leading to another round of firing. Smoke engulfed nearby areas as agitators burnt the furniture and a generator in the NCC office. They were also angry with the police as they resorted to lathicharge on leaders of Paryavarana Parirakshana Sangham (PPS) which launched its agitation against the setting up of power plant. PPS leaders Krishna Murthy, Dilli Rao and others were injured. “The project will take away livelihood of other people living in 24 villages in and around Sompeta. Moreover, it is also a big threat to Sompeta town. It is unfortunate that the project is proposed in thickly-populated areas. We will continue to agitate till the NCC withdraws its proposal,” said K. Rajeswara Rao, a PPS activist. According to PPS leaders, the site is a lush green agricultural land which should not be diverted for industrial use as per Supreme Court orders. There are three lift irrigation projects across 750 acres of land within the site. “The project will deprive hundreds of farmers and fishermen of their livelihood.”
NCC consultant N. Satyanarayana Raju argued that the power project would not cause any trouble for the people since many projects were established earlier in populated areas. “A few people with ill motives are opposing the project,” he added.