Staff Reporter

Kakinada: Reliance Industries has agreed to pay a compensation of Rs. 14 lakh each to four villages for a period of six months during which the fishermen could not venture into the sea for hunting due to the dredging being done by the private sector giant for pipelines meant to transport natural gas from K-G Basin.

Officials of Reliance reached an understanding with fishermen of Gadimoga, Lakshmipathipuram, Pedavalasa and Chinavalasa in the presence of Collector M. Subrahmanyam at the Collectorate on Tuesday night.

The compensation will be paid with effect from October, when fishing activity was suspended, to March 2008. Some 430 boats are grounded ever since. A sum of Rs. 42 lakh pertaining to the first three months (October-December, 2007) will be paid next month and thereafter the compensation will be remitted every month.

Reliance had initially agreed to pay only Rs. 10 lakh per month but hiked it by Rs. 14 lakh largely due to the efforts of Collector Subrahmanyam who, along with the MLA, had met company officials several times to sort out the issue.