Officials unable to continue land acquisition for the project

Officials of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and the State government are unable to continue the land acquisition process in Kovvada and surrounding villages of Ranasthalam mandal, Srikakulam district, following strong resistance from locals against the construction of the nuclear power plant.

The government identified about 1,500 acres of land but it has not been alienated to NPCIL so far. In addition, it has to acquire 499 acres in Kovvada, Ramachandrapuram Tekkali and Kotapalem villages.

It set up a land acquisition unit in the AP NGOs Home in Srikakulam but could not begin as a majority of the villagers did not accept the ‘packages’ offered by the government.

With the support of all the opposition parties, the villagers have been continuing their relay hunger strike for the last six months.

The villagers are not convinced with the argument in favour of setting up a nuclear plant in their vicinity, though officials have been repeatedly telling them that it would be safe on the lines of the one in Kalpakkam.

CPI (M) leaders Bhaviri Krishnamurthy, V.G.K. Murthy, Panchadi Paparao and others extended their moral support to the villagers saying that Kovvada nuclear plant would be a threat to the environment. Meanwhile, the relay hunger strike entered the 172 day.

Co-ordinator of all Opposition parties, Kalisetty Appalanaidu, has also threatened to intensify the movement if officials resorted to land acquisition.

Former panchayat president of Kovvada, Mylapalli Polisu said that fishermen would lose their livelihood as restrictions would be imposed on fishing activity after construction of the nuclear power plant.